Poetry of World War One

Show how poets you studied this year develop universal themes and images. Language is the greatest form of communication, separating humans from the other primates. Literature, the written form of spoken language offers an opportunity to express emotions and thoughts precisely. This highly developed form of communication has an infinite number of opportunities and when articulated with intelligence empowers the writer with the ability to inspire and enlighten. Poetry is an ancient form of literature accurately described as: “Imaginative literature involving language especially heightened by verse, imagery, figures of speech or similar devices to affect the imagination and emotions.” Poetry allows the poet to creatively mould and sculpture words expressively into a work of art. Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen intimately examine war and death. These are closely related universal themes. Each poet incorporates individual techniques to conjure detailed images and clearly express topics such as war and death. Robert von Ranke Graves (1878-1962) was an English poet, novelist, critic and scholar who fought in the First World War and in his later years continued to write and teach literature. During the war Grave’s used poetry as an outlet to express his emotions. “The Leveller” is a narrative poem, which describes the passing of two men from his platoon. Using effective stylistic devices such as rhyming couplets and similes Graves has created a poem, which actively stimulates the imagination with an abundance of imagery: “Yet in his death this cut throat wild Groaned “Mother! Mother!’ Like a child, While that poor innocent in man’s clothes Died cursing God with brutal oaths.” This verse while short, affects the reader profoundly for the reason that it has been constructed skilfully and provides an insight of the two men, which creates a vivid image of war’s unforgiving nature and its absolu…

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