War poetry has always caught the public imagination. Here, Andrew Motion chooses ten war poems from an enormous, varied and arresting tradition.
Wishing to “catch the subject by surprise” rather than opt for the obvious classics, his chosen poems meet the reader head on.
“In the poems that follow, we hear a range of voices from this country and beyond, from ancient history and the present.
They all have feelings in common – fear, dread, regret, horror, defiance, sorrow. And they all express them in ways that make us concentrate on the individuality of their authors and their subjects.”
Poems by Li Bai/Rihaku, Keith Douglas, Miroslav Holub, Yusef Komunyakaa, Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, Wilfred Owen, Stevie Smith and Walt Whitman.
Cover image by Clifford Harper.