Saturday, November 11, 2006

War poems

November 11 is Veterans Day in the U.S., Armistice Day elsewhere.

Rachel Campbell-Johnston, poetry critic for the London Times, named her six favorite war poems for the occasion.

Among her choices:
"On Being Asked for a War Poem" by W. B. Yeats

The master’s reply is a silence that sings louder than words.

"In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations'" by Thomas Hardy

Gazes through the gunsmoke at what will survive.

War Music by Christopher Logue

Stunning adaptation of Homer spanning Jacobean glee in bloodshed to pithy contemporary politics.
Click here for Campbell-Johnston's other picks.

I don't know much about the other works but I'm a great admirer of Logue's War Music.

Here's the publisher's description:
In his brilliant rendering of eight books of Homer's Iliad, Logue here retells some of the most evocative episodes of the war classic, including the death of Patroclus and Achilles's fateful return to battle, that sealed the doom of Troy. Compulsively readable, Logue's poetry flies off the page, and his compelling descriptions of the horrors of war have a surreal, dreamlike quality that has been compared to the films of Kurosawa. Retaining the great poem's story line but rewriting every incident, Logue brings the Trojan War to life for modern audiences.
Compulsively readable, indeed.

--Marshal Zeringue