Up the Line to Death: The War Poets 1914-1918

By Brian Gardner

Published by Methuen Publishing Ltd (1986)

Since its publication in 1964, Brian Gardner's "Up the Line to Death" has established itself as one of the most complete and compelling anthologies of poetry from World War I. Before his death on active service in 1918, Wilfred Owen said, "Above all I am not concerned with Poetry. My subject is War and the pity of War." This anthology is also concerned with the stark reality of war, but shows how poetry can be used to convey horror and fear, how a form associated with declarations of love can similarly leave a reader feeling disturbed and uncomfortable. 72 poets are represented, of whom 21 died in action. Rudyard Kipling, Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Wilfred Owen, and Thomas Hardy are all here, as well as poets almost entirely forgotten now. From the early exultation to the bitter disillusion, the tragedy of World War I is carefully traced in the words of those who lived through it.

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