From Category: Poetry and War
Jendi Reiter judged the War Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers from 2002-2011 (the contest is currently inactive). She shares her advice on reading thousands of war poems.
Sale proceeds go to support Agent Orange victims and widows.
Includes classic poems of World War I by Owen, Sassoon and others.
Reflections on the conflict in Northern Ireland. This poem won Manifold's Ireland Competition in 2001. Visit Mr. Newman's website for more poems and an excellent glossary of poetic forms from the common to the obscure.
By Betty T. Bennett. Essay briefly surveys the literature of war in Britain during a crucial period in the development of the modern nation-state. Includes extensive bibliography. This essay is the introduction to a larger anthology not available online.
The Literary Expression of Battlefield Touchstones. This magazine launched online in January 2003. Authors are invited to submit their work via email.
Consequence is a Massachusetts-based literary magazine, published annually, focusing on the culture of war in America. They accept short fiction, poetry, nonfiction, interviews, and artwork, and offer an annual poetry prize.
Creative Forces is an interactive online exhibit of writing and art by military service members and veterans who participated in the NEA Military Healing Arts Network. The artists also contributed short video clips discussing their process and the impact of art-making on their recovery from combat trauma.
Israeli poet Elisha Porat tells the story of two writers, one an angry young war veteran who hopes poetry will ease his traumatic memories, the other an sanguine older man who learns his own lesson about the fragility of youth and beauty.
Online slideshow of the World War I poet's correspondence, drawings, and poems from the front, selected from the Cambridge University Library exhibit of his personal papers (open through December 23, 2010). The 5-minute video narrated by curator John Wells includes a discussion of how Sassoon's anti-war views evolved.
This British website features work by the major poets of WWI, plus contextual resources, online tutorials, podcasts, lesson plans, and more.
This 10-part series from online newspaper The Huffington Post features real-life stories of the physical and emotional challenges, victories and setbacks that catastrophically wounded soldiers encounter after returning home.
This essay honoring the poet William Stafford reflects on how literature can foster mutual understanding and empathy in order to break the cycle of violence. This article appeared in the April 2011 newsletter of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The link below will open a PDF.
A large, active, democratic home for the poetry of war. A good place to start is the Honor Rolls and Awards page, honoring the best poems and websites. Free submissions welcome. They will be posted at the discretion of the webmaster.
Hallucinatory meditation on the political culture of wartime America, by John Amen, editor of the bimonthly journal The Pedestal Magazine.
Vivid personal anecdotes and poems based on the experiences of US veterans in the 143rd Field Artillery during the Korean War.
This unique and moving 8-minute video shows young Ukrainian artist Kseniya Simonova creating a sand painting that narrates the devastating impact of the Nazi invasion.
A haunting sequence of 9/11 poems. Part of the Political Anthology now online at The Pedestal Magazine.
The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation sponsors several free awards for books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by veterans and/or about Marine Corps history and life.
This organization's mission is to bridge the gap between military and civilian cultures through creative expression and scholarship. The site includes resources to help veterans write their personal stories. MEA publishes three magazines: The Blue Falcon, a journal of military fiction; Blue Streak, a journal of military poetry; and the Journal of Military Experience, an interdisciplinary scholarly periodical. See website for their calls for submissions.
Association of writers and artists who honor the military through their creative works. Most of the 500+ members are active-duty or veterans, but civilians may also join. The MWSA offers annual awards for published books in a variety of genres including nonfiction (scholarly and popular), children's literature, poetry, fiction, memoirs, spiritual/religious, and science fiction. The site also features many book reviews.
The National Endowment for the Arts is a federal agency that gives grants to individual artists and arts organizations in the US. Launched in 2011, the NEA Military Healing Arts Partnership supports creative art therapy programs to help wounded, ill, and injured American service members and their families in their recovery, reintegration or transition to civilian life. In conjunction with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, this partnership is developing arts programs to treat service members with traumatic brain injury and associated psychological health issues.
Introduces high school students to poetry through the theme of war. Harvey Starbuck of Olathe High School (Colorado) describes his course in detail and provides links to poems, lesson plans, teaching strategies and a webliography.
This group's mission is to honor the courage, heroism, and contributions of American service personnel found to have been exposed to Agent Orange in a combat zone. Since victims of this toxic chemical, used by the US during the Korean and Vietnam wars, are not eligible for a Purple Heart, this private organization created the Silver Rose as an alternative commemoration.
The Mantle, an international online forum for progressive critique, hosted this roundtable featuring authors and poets Sehba Sarwar (Houston, USA/Karachi, Pakistan), Tolu Ogunlesi (Lagos, Nigeria), and Vicente Garcia Groyon (Manila, Philippines). Mantle editor and moderator Shaun Randol asks, "What is the role of the writer in a conflict zone?...Must the writer choose sides in a conflict, and put pen to paper to write editorials or blast propaganda? Should the writer drop the pen and pick up a megaphone and a protest placard instead? Perhaps the writer should abandon the craft altogether, pick up a sword, and join the fight. And if so, which side does he or she choose? Or, perhaps, in conflict the writer has no obligation at all, and is free to navel gaze in seclusion, letting the bickering sides fight it out while he pursues his own literary interests."
Brief overview of modern poets' approach to the subject of war and its atrocities, with links to classic and contemporary authors. Other useful links to World War I poets can be found on their Wilfred Owen page.
San Francisco Chronicle article recounts the wartime experiences of famous Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and his conversion to pacifist principles after viewing the devastation at Nagasaki.
This website collects critical and biographical information for the poet, radio dramatist, and translator Henry Reed (1914-1986), best known for his antiwar poem 'Naming of Parts'.
'Poetry of Resilience' is a documentary by Academy Award-nominated director Katja Esson about six international poets who individually survived Hiroshima, the Holocaust, China's Cultural Revolution, the Kurdish Genocide in Iraq, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Iranian Revolution. These six artists present us with a close-up perspective of the "wide shot" of political violence. Each story is powerful, but the film's strength comes from its collective voice: different political conflicts, cultures, genders, ages, races – one shared human narrative.
Powerful poems recall the Holocaust in words of grief, anger, love and truth. We particularly like this 2005 issue; see the PSH archives for links to previous annual Holocaust issues. These issues are published annually during the week of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Submissions are accepted during the preceding week only.
Online literary journal dedicated to sharing thought-provoking writing, photography, and art that opposes the use of violence as conflict resolution, and embraces the intrinsic themes of peace and human rights. Also features a good list of links to humanitarian organizations.
Listen to a podcast of the author reading this war poem at the Poets & Writers Magazine website.
One of the great soldier-poets of World War I, Brooke was a romantic figure and socialist activist whose social circle included E.M. Forster, Henry James, Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group. Unlike contemporaries who emphasized the horrors of modern warfare, Brooke wrote of patriotic idealism and comradeship in the face of death. He served in the Navy during WWI and died in 1915, at the age of 28, while stationed in Greece.
Contemporary war poetry selected by Eugene Volokh. Professor Volokh teaches law at UCLA. Submissions welcome - formal verse sought.
War poetry scholar Peggy Rosenthal reviews two anthologies on the topic, and discusses the place of poetry in the curriculum of the famed West Point military academy, in this article from Christianity Today.
Six leading writers and editors - Robert Pinsky, Alice Quinn, Judith Shulevitz, Dan Chiasson, Anthony Swofford, and Robert Fagles - discuss the poems that they turn to in times of war. Includes audio clips of them reading the poems.
A project of the University of Massachusetts-Boston, the Joiner Center promotes research, curriculum development, public events, and educational, cultural, and humanitarian exchanges which foster greater understanding and innovative means of addressing the consequences of war. Their annual writers' workshop is taught by Iraq and Vietnam veterans and others whose works address issues of social justice, cultural, political, and community concern.
Well-crafted poetry by Vietnam veteran John A. Moller recounts the experiences of the New Zealanders who fought in that war. We especially liked 'A Gunner Goes Home'.
British site features bios of leading WWI poets, links to anthologies, and well-crafted poetry about contemporary conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
Writecorner Press editor Robert B. Gentry interviewed residents of the Oak Hammock retirement community at the University of Florida in Gainesville who were veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Their oral histories are collected on this page on Writecorner's website.
World War I reference site maintained by the Great War Society. Their online newsletter, the St. Mihiel Trip-Wire, features historical research, book recommendations and links to materials about World War I. The site also includes a historical overview of the war, an extensive links directory, discussion forums, and information on battlefield tours.
This Australian website has collected over 600 labor union and political protest songs, from classics like "Bread and Roses" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" to contemporary offerings such as "After We Torture Our Prisoners". A number of the songs are accompanied by audio recordings. An extensive links directory provides information on other working-class music and cultural sites.
Library of Congress site collects personal reminiscences from veterans of recent wars. Search archives by time period or branch of service, or find out how you can add your own memories to the historical record.
This moving poem by 17-year-old Sabina Carlson supports Amnesty International's campaign for diplomatic and humanitarian aid to stop the genocidal civil war in Sudan's Darfur region. Visit their website to find out how you can help.
Mr. Ray was one of the founders of American Writers Against the Vietnam War in 1966. Recent books include 'The Death of Sardanapalus: and Other Poems of the Iraq Wars' and 'One Thousand Years: Poems about the Holocaust'.
Brief overview of the emergence and development of the contemporary war poetry genre, with links to information on major poets of World Wars I and II.
The War Poets Association promotes interest in the work, life and historical context of poets whose subject is the experience of war, with particular interest in World Wars I and II, the Spanish Civil War, and the conflict in Northern Ireland. Their website posts announcements of new publications in this field, calls for papers, and literary events (mostly in London).
Poetry website dedicated to giving the poets of the 21st century a place to speak out about a world consumed with war, peace, religious intolerance, military strategy, violence and hate. Featured authors include Anne Caston, Frederick Van Kirk, and Ronald Wallace. See website for submission guidelines.
This contest sponsored by Winning Writers seeks the best unpublished poems on the theme of war. Poignant, horrifying, uplifting, or darkly humorous, these beautifully written winning poems stand out for their ability to teach us something important about war and the complexity of human nature.
This lesson plan module from The New York Times suggests readings and writing prompts to help students reflect on how war is portrayed in literature and in veterans' first-person accounts.