Soldier Poets of the First World War – John Mills
As we paused on November 11 to honour the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of the First World War, it was fitting that we also recognized the British soldier-poets of that war whose work ultimately helped to change the way the war was viewed.Retired university lecturer John Mills, a resident of Pirkkala with a longstanding interest in poetry, introduced us to the war poems of Siegfried Sassoon, Hedd Wyn, Isaac Rosenberg, and Wilfred Owen. The talk included an introduction to each poet and a reading of several of their poems, as well as a brief assessment of their legacy.
A handout of poems discussed is available at here (PDF). They are:
- On receiving news of the war and Returning we hear larks, Isaac Rosenberg
- Rhyfel (War), Hedd Wyn
- Attack and Suicide in the trenches, by Siegfried Sassoon, and
- Anthem for doomed youth and The next war by Wilfred Owen.
As Owen sadly foresaw, the horrors of war which these poets described so eloquently are still present with us today.