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The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry (Penguin Classics) 1st Edition
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But a more irritating aspect of the book is its lack of a proper index of poets and a table of contents listing the poems by author. Thus one has to rummage around looking for a particular poet, whose name, for an equally mystifying reason, is not given until the end of the poem.
The Introduction by the editor, George Walter, is excellent, as is, for the most part, his choice of poems, with the obvious exceptions. But the layout of the book itself is exasperating, even irritating.
The two main things that drove me up the wall:
1. As other reviewers have mentioned, the book is organized into thematic sections, tracing (roughly chronologically) the emotional experience of soldiers and homefront through the war. If you're reading the book to get an "experience" of WWI poetry, then this is not a bad way to do it. If you're reading it because you want to look at the works of a given war poet, it's ridiculous. Even within the thematic sections, the poems aren't grouped by author, and there is no index. My entire class had about an hour of "homework" in which we had to search through the book and put color-coded sticky tabs on the pages of the poems and poets were were assigned to look at, just so we could find them easily during class---whereas in the older editions of this anthology the poems were simply grouped by poet. (My professor was as dismayed/frustrated as I was.)
2. The editor's note at the beginning of the book explains that he chose to include only the first published edition of any given poem, on the logic that these were the first versions that the poets were ready to share with the world. If you're dealing with poets who published their own work, this is not unreasonable logic---but not all of the poets included here lived long enough to publish their work!Read more ›
Any study of WWI cannot be complete without the poetic words that helped shape the stark vividness of so much pointless battle. Penguin has put together a masterpiece--organization be damned. Just open it up and read...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I was lent this book I had no intention of reading it page by page, since I seldom do so with a book of poems. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Schmerguls
It is very moving, all the more as you realize so many of these poets died in their 20's. They developed a new kind of poetry out of their personal experiences in the needless,... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Zoe Goorman
This book , which I have read through more than three times is unique. It shows man at his best, creating while immersed in a living hell. Read morePublished on May 1, 2013 by Puricelli Bohm Enrique