Canadian Poetry from World War I: An Anthology

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Joel Baetz
Oxford University Press, 2009 - Poetry - 198 pages
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No Canadian life was untouched by the events of World War I. Over 600,000 soldiers went to the battlefields; of these, one-third were either killed or seriously injured. Those who remained behind at home were desperate for news or description of life on the front-lines. It is no surprise that there was considerable demand for news reports, literature, or poetry. While most of us struggle to name a single Canadian war poem beyond John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields," hundreds of poems, anthologies, and collections about the war were published in Canada during the Great War and the following decade. But to date there has been no careful selection of poetry. Many of Canada's key authors of the period depicted aspects of wartime experience, from Charles G.D. Roberts to A.J.M. Smith, from Marjorie Pickthall and Helena Coleman to Frank Prewett and E.J. Pratt, from Robert Service to W.W.E. Ross. Their works have been assembled here for the first time since 1919, and parsed by war literature expert Joel Baetz. This contemporary edition includes biographical notes, historical references, and explanations of outdated words, making the works accessible to the modern reader. Through the voices of early twentieth-century poets, Baetz offers the harrowing imagery of man-made hell, and how amidst the trenches humanity still clung to the hope and dream of grace.

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William Wilfred Campbell

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About the author (2009)

Joel Baetz is Assistant Professor at York University. He is an award-winning teacher and his publications include acting as literary consultant for the CD Waiting There for Me: Songs and Poems from Canadians in World War I (2007).

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