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Topics in Chronicling America - World War I Poetry

Imagine yourself hunched in a trench, the sound of gunfire loud above you, awaiting the order from your commander to charge. Thoughts of home and the purpose of life plague you, and soon you are thinking in verse. Beautiful but despondent, the poetry of World War One soldiers captures not only the last moments of someone’s life but an entire lost generation. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Headline about poetry.

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • March 30, 1916: “The Glories of Fighting” by Captain Julian Grenfall.
  • January 31, 1918: “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Colonel McCrae and “The Living Answer.
  • March 23, 1918: “Letters Overseas” – How to write to your beloved soldier.
  • May 12, 1918: The Sun compares German and English war poetry; War Poems from “The Muse in Arms.”
  • June 9, 1918: Poems Included in "From the Front," an Appleton Anthology.
  • July 28, 1918 Masefield’s “August 1914”; Brooke’s “The Soldier”; Seager’s “I Have a Rendezvous With Death.”
  • October 27, 1918: Robert Nichols remembers his fallen poet comrades.
  • January 4, 1919: “Appostles of “No Humiliation”” by Seaman; “With Peace Impending” by Stringer.
  • April 6, 1919: Edgar Lee Masters salutes Robert Nichols in verse.
  • June 22, 1919: Poems by Richard Aldington.
  • March 21, 1920: “The Soldier Addresses His Body” by Edgell Rickword.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Julian Grenfall, John McCrae, W.N. Hodgson, John Masefield, Rupert Brooke, Robert Nichols, Owen Seaman
  • Use a line from a poem as a search term if looking for a specific poem.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.
  • Be prepared to distinguish between the many poems printed that are unrelated to the war.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  October 18, 2014
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