Keith Douglas

(January 24, 1920 – June 9, 1944 / Tunbridge Wells, Kent)

Keith Douglas
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Poetry

Douglas described his poetic style as 'extrospective'; that is, he focused on external impressions rather than inner emotions. The result is a poetry which, according to his detractors, can be callous in the midst of war's atrocities. For others, Douglas's work is powerful and unsettling because its exact descriptions eschew egotism and shift the burden of emotion from the poet to the reader. His best poetry is generally considered to rank alongside the twentieth-century's finest soldier-poetry.

In his poem, "Desert Flowers" (1943), Douglas mentions World War I poet Isaac Rosenberg claiming that he is only repeating what "Isaac" has already ... more »

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Quotations

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  • How can I live among this gentle
    absolescent breed of heroes, and not weep?
    Unicorns, almost,
    for they are falling into two legends
    in which their stupidity and chivalry <...
    Keith Douglas (1920-1944), British poet. Aristocrats (l. 9-14). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, ed...
  • ''For here the lover and killer are mingled
    who had one body and one heart.
    And death who had the soldier singled
    has done the lover mortal hurt.''
    Keith Douglas (1920-1944), British poet. Vergissmeinnicht (l. 21-24). . . Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse, The. Philip Larkin, ed. ...
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Comments about Keith Douglas

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  • Allan Lindsay (7/27/2013 2:19:00 PM)

    Simply a great poet - who should be greater read

  • Dick Bird (5/12/2008 9:13:00 PM)

    A very underrated poet, a tragedy enough he should die so young after a not particularly happy early life compounded by the fact that his work is overlooked. His awareness of the humanity of the enemy sets apart from even Owen; his victims are real men with mothers and girlfriends. His poems are technically innovative and his images persist.

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