The First World War is famous for a number of reasons, not least because it was, at the time, the largest conflict ever to occur on the face of the earth. One of the most distinctive things to come out of the conflict, however, was its poetry. World War One is generally noted as being the war in which the genre known as war poetry was first established. There are many examples of this from all countries involved in the war particularly Britain, USA and Russia.
The most famous of
the British poets was Wilfred Owen. With work such as Dulce et Decorum Est, Insensibility and Anthem for Doomed Youth Owen established the tone for World War One poetry. While historically poems about war focused upon the glory, excitement and drama of battles and triumphs, Owen focused on the misery, tragedy and insanity of the conflict in a way that was revolutionary. Owen died in battle in Joncourt, France in 1918 and never lived to see how popular his poetry would become after the war.
Another poet who would be taken during World War 1 was Charles Sorely. After he was killed by a sniper at the age of just 20 during the Battle of Loos, Sorely's poems went on to be published posthumously and he is now considered one of the best of the era.
One war poet who would live to see his success was Owen's close friend Siegfried Sassoon. Sassoon was another British soldier who was decorated for bravery during the war but whose poetry reflected grimly upon its horror. Sassoon, who had already been published as a poet prior to the outbreak of the conflict, also displayed a satirical edge in his work, underlining the folly and vanity of the powerful forces who he felt were driving the war for their own ends. Sassoon lived to be a feted and acclaimed writer, both of prose and poetry until his death at the age of 81 in 1967.