Project: Art as a form of creation

War Poetry

Task 1: The following questions are just a guide for you to prepare a presentations on war poetry.

  1. What is war poetry?
  2. Name some war poets and famous poems.
  3. How are soldiers typically portrayed?  Is there a common theme which unites the various countries?  What do these representations tell us about  the society which produced such an image?
  4. What are the roles which children played in wartime propaganda”  Why were children “essential victims” in the war?
  5. What was the role played by women in war times?
  6. What is the typical message/imagery in war poems?
  7. What are Sassoon‘s views of the war, of the soldier, and of death created in his poems?
  8. Some literary historians have argued that of the war poets, Wilfred Owen is the better poet.  Do you agree or disagree, and why?
  9. Overall, what value does poetry have for the historian of war?  Can poetry be used to examine the nature of the war experience, and if so, how?  Are there other sources which are “better” for the study of war, and if so what/why?

Some links to help you prepare your presentation:

http://www.warpoets.org/home/what-is-war-poetry-an-introduction-by-paul-oprey/

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/70139/the-poetry-of-world-war-i

http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/FWW_index.html

http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/index.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z38rq6f

Task 2: Together we´ll analyse the following poem

The Death Bed BY SIEGFRIED SASSOON

He drowsed and was aware of silence heaped
Round him, unshaken as the steadfast walls;
Aqueous like floating rays of amber light,
Soaring and quivering in the wings of sleep.
Silence and safety; and his mortal shore
Lipped by the inward, moonless waves of death.
Someone was holding water to his mouth.
He swallowed, unresisting; moaned and dropped
Through crimson gloom to darkness; and forgot
The opiate throb and ache that was his wound.
Water—calm, sliding green above the weir;
Water—a sky-lit alley for his boat,
Bird-voiced, and bordered with reflected flowers
And shaken hues of summer: drifting down,
He dipped contented oars, and sighed, and slept.
Night, with a gust of wind, was in the ward,
Blowing the curtain to a gummering curve.
Night. He was blind; he could not see the stars
Glinting among the wraiths of wandering cloud;
Queer blots of colour, purple, scarlet, green,
Flickered and faded in his drowning eyes.
Rain—he could hear it rustling through the dark;
Fragrance and passionless music woven as one;
Warm rain on drooping roses; pattering showers
That soak the woods; not the harsh rain that sweeps
Behind the thunder, but a trickling peace,
Gently and slowly washing life away.
He stirred, shifting his body; then the pain
Leaped like a prowling beast, and gripped and tore
His groping dreams with grinding claws and fangs.
But someone was beside him; soon he lay
Shuddering because that evil thing had passed.
And death, who’d stepped toward him, paused and stared.
Light many lamps and gather round his bed.
Lend him your eyes, warm blood, and will to live.
Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet.
He’s young; he hated war; how should he die
When cruel old campaigners win safe through?
But death replied: “I choose him.” So he went,
And there was silence in the summer night;
Silence and safety; and the veils of sleep.
Then, far away, the thudding of the guns.
Source: The Old Huntsman and Other Poems (1917)

Task 3: Group work

Each group will be in charge of analysing a war poem and teach it to the class.

Task 4: Think of a war, or conflict today. Find a poem which deals with that topic. Share it with the class.

Task 5: Prepare a post in your blog which includes the presentation on war poetry, the poem analysed in class , all the poems presented by each and every group and the poem on a current conflict or war!

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