How could August Stramm's "War Grave" be compared with Issac Rosenberg's "On Receiving News of the War"?
There are a number of ways to compare both poems. Here are some:
1)Compare the structure of the poems.
First, Rosenberg's poem follows the ABAB rhyme; each stanza begins with an iambic trimeter line alternating with an iambic dimeter line, and so on.
Snow is/ a strange/ white word. (trimeter)
No ice/ or frost (dimeter)
Has asked/ of bud/ or bird (trimeter)
For Win/ter’s cost. (dimeter)
Meanwhile, Stramm's poem is minimalist in approach and utilizes one-line statements that portray the varied emotions and perspectives of soldiers on the front lines.
2)Compare the style of each poem.
August Stramm wrote his poem in the Expressionist style, with none of the militarism and gratuitous violence exemplified in works influenced by Futurism and Vorticism. Vorticism is a blend of Cubism and Futurism. Cubist works were avant-garde art and poetry that concentrated mainly on fragmented and abstract reassembly of particular subjects. Futurist works concentrated mainly on the unsentimental aspects of modern technology and mechanism; additionally, futurist works glorified the power of technology and violence as well as the triumph of human inventions over the natural environment.
August Stramm's poem is apologetically minimalist, and he resorts to unflinching one-line statements about war, in order to portray the human experience. This Expressionist approach highlights emotion and the subjective in relation to any experience. It is not futurist or vorticist; there is no effort to revert to sensational, gratuitous violence or to glorify the machines of war. Stramm's poem concentrates on the human experience; in any war, each moment is unique. Not all moments are of terror; some moments are mundane and even ordinary. Consider the words Stramm uses: "water," "attack," "nothing," "kiss," and "forgotten."
Rosenberg's poem, on the other hand, tries to explore the rationale for violence and bloodshed. He ponders the "crimson curse" and the "spirit old" which has focused its "malign kiss" on humankind. Please refer to the link below for a cogent analysis of the religious imagery.
3)Compare the backgrounds of both poets. How did differing perspectives about war affect the content of their poems?
Consider the backgrounds of the poets: August Stramm was a German Expressionist poet, who served and died on the battlefield during World War One. Isaac Rosenberg was an English Jewish poet, who also served and was killed on the battlefield during World War One.
Both men used markedly different styles to write their poems [please refer to number (2) above]. Also, consider that Rosenberg's poem contains religious imagery that is profoundly troubling and unsettling. Both poems allude to the inevitability of death and obliteration, sure. However, Rosenberg's poem touches on a distinctly vulnerable God, one most people would rather not consider: Red fangs have torn His face. / God’s blood is shed.”
It is an image of God that certainly flies in the face of the Judaeo-Christian conception of God. The imagery is stark and may offend certain sensibilities, but it certainly underlines the horror of war in unmitigated terms. Rosenberg's attitude to war was perhaps cynical, but nevertheless bereft of naivety: "I never joined the army for patriotic reasons. Nothing can justify war. I suppose we must all fight to get the trouble over." [Field, F. (1991). British and French writers of the First World War: Comparative studies in cultural history. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, p. 235].
Here's a very helpful analysis of Rosenberg's On Receiving News of the War:
On the other hand, Stramm was married and pursued lofty hobbies as an amateur artist and cellist. His fascination for war as a subject matter was equal to his revulsion for the atrocities of war. Stramm's minimalist approach highlighted an almost macabre, microscopic fascination for the intricacies of human terror and experience. Again, please refer to the information above.
Hope this helps!