Thursday, June 2, 2016

Jill's Library: World War I Poets

I once got so excited talking to historical archaeologists and special collections librarians during a field trip to a career expo that I didn't even realize that my school had moved to a different exhibit until I looked around and didn't recognize anyone.  Needless to say, it was a bit scary, but hearing about historical gardens and Edgar Allan Poe's transcript made the momentary fear entirely worth it. If you're a bibliophile, too, I'm sure you understand where I'm coming from :).
I'm sharing this anecdote because this post is a more literature/history-focused one.  I recently rediscovered my mum's collection of World War I poems and poets, and I fell totally in love with it (again).  There is something so moving about reading a poem by someone and then reading their story, and it's particularly tragic to learn that they died shortly after said poem was written.  Reading the beautiful words of Wilfred Owen, for instance, it was difficult to imagine he was killed only a week before the armistice was signed in 1918.  Writing keeps people alive by preserving voices and thoughts and moments, and the fact that so many of the early 20th century's greatest writers had their lives cut short by the very subject they wrote about--war--is so incredibly horrible. Reading about the war also really helps to put into perspective all of the things going on in the present.  While it is crucial to think about the good in the world, it's also necessary to recognize the bad, and there is a lot of struggle and suffering right now.  I often wonder what poetry--be it written or merely felt (because, yes, you can just "feel" a poem)--will arise from all that is happening today.
(Siegfried Sassoon)
<3 Frances


No comments:

Post a Comment