Friday, November 09, 2007

Where have all the poets gone?

My short essay on war poetry is in today's Ottawa Citizen.

Go to this link to read it, if you wish.

Here's an excerpt:

To this day, in fact, when we speak of war poetry, we tend to be speaking about poets from the First World War. They represent a subset of English language literature, and for the most part their work fairly drips with the same wistful sentimentality as In Flanders Fields. Importantly, as well, this sentimentality tends to carry with it the authority of experience. These are poets who followed the old instructional cliché of writing what they knew. When McCrae speaks in the voice of the dead, it is because he is intimate with what war visits on humanity.

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