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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Comments about Keith Douglas

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  • Gold Star - 13,306 Points Terry Craddock (4/30/2015 9:21:00 PM)

    Superb touch, an exceptionally gifted and underrated poet.

  • Rookie - 3 Points Allan Lindsay (7/27/2013 2:19:00 PM)

    Simply a great poet - who should be greater read

  • Rookie 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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Best Poem of Keith Douglas

How To Kill

Under the parabola of a ball,
a child turning into a man,
I looked into the air too long.
The ball fell in my hand, it sang
in the closed fist: Open Open
Behold a gift designed to kill.

Now in my dial of glass appears
the soldier who is going to die.
He smiles, and moves about in ways
his mother knows, habits of his.
The wires touch his face: I cry
NOW. Death, like a familiar, hears

And look, has made a man of dust
of a man of flesh. This sorcery
I do. Being damned, I am amused
to see the centre of love diffused
and the ...

Read the full of How To Kill

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