War Poetry - I need pointers.I'm planning a series of lessons on artistic reaction to war and I really want to introduce some war poetry. Please please please... which war poems would you...

War Poetry - I need pointers.

I'm planning a series of lessons on artistic reaction to war and I really want to introduce some war poetry. Please please please... which war poems would you recommend? I've got a pretty good idea of WWI poets, Brooke, Owen and Sassoon. But I need more examples from different eras and don't know any.

There's one poem I read years ago that was so moving, but I can't remember any of it. The poet watches Death stalk across the battlefield commiting the worst atrocities possible then, in the last line, Death gives the poet an awful smile to let the poet know he's watching. Does that ring a bell?

And isn't there one by Byron where some ancient Greek army is compared to leaves falling from trees ???

Any and all suggestions please.

Asked on by frizzyperm

9 Answers | Add Yours

engtchr5's profile pic

engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

One poem that is frequently overlooked in war poetry units is John Gillespie Magee's "High Flight." It is based upon an Air Force pilot's experience while flying during wartime. It has great meter and subtle rhyme, and kids really respond well to it.

As a media link, you may wish to use the clip from "The Man Without a Face" (Mel Gibson) where he teaches Norstadt the poem mentioned above.

enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

November by Robert Frost  (written 11/1939)

We saw leaves go to glory,
Then almost migratory
Go part way down the lane,
And then to end the story
Get beaten down and pasted
In one wild day of rain.
We heard ‘ ‘Tis over’ roaring.
A year of leaves was wasted.
Oh, we make a boast of storing,
Of saving and of keeping,
But only by ignoring
The waste of moments sleeping,
The waste of pleasure weeping,
By denying and ignoring
The waste of nations warring.

 

The Death of the Ball Turrent Gunner by Randall Jarrell

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

[A ball turret was a plexiglass sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24 bomber, and held two .50 caliber machine-guns and one short, small man. This gunner tracked with his machine-guns, when a fighter attacked his bomber from below, he revolved the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like a fetus in the womb. The American planes could fly a lot higher than German planes, because of our advanced technology- hence the cold. The fighters which attacked him were armed with canon firing explosive shells. The hose was probably a steam hose.]

Beach Red by Peter Bowman

[A 61 page epic poem about the US marines landing on Japanese occupied islands in the Pacific.]

 

For Vietnam/Gulf:

http://www.lzsally.com/popage.html

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

What about the song, "War" by Edwin Starr?  The lyrics are at the link posted below.  You can probably find this song on Youtube to play in class.

http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/edwin_starr/war.html

pippin1313's profile pic

pippin1313 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I've done a unit on this and I found the kids really liked protest songs. Lennon and Dylan are good for starters...it's great because they can listen to the song as well as studying the lyrics as a poem.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I don't have any more poem suggestions, but I can suggest a documentary: All This and World War II. It's a compilation of WWII newsreels set to songs by the Beatles. You might want to check it out.

rshaffer's profile pic

rshaffer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Thomas Hardy: "Men who March Away", Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Donald Ross: The Death of Peace, Alfred Noyes: A Prayer in Time of War, Thomas Hardy: Then and Now, Rudyard Kipling: "For All we Have and Are, Rudyard Kipling: The Choice, Robert Bridges: To the United States of America, Maurice Hewlett: In the Trenches, Sir Henry Newbolt: A Letter from the Front, Alan Seeger: I Have a Rendezvous with Death, Robert Frost: Not to Keep, Oscar C.A. Child: To a Hero, Ada Tyrrell: My Son, Margaret Peterson: A Mother's Dedication. Tennyson: The Charge of the Light Brigade, and "The Bugle Song" from The Princess.

I have taught many of these with great success. I got most of these works from this website:  http://www.geocities.com/~bblair/toc_twp.htm

bhogan's profile pic

bhogan | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

War Poetry - I need pointers.

I'm planning a series of lessons on artistic reaction to war and I really want to introduce some war poetry. Please please please... which war poems would you recommend? I've got a pretty good idea of WWI poets, Brooke, Owen and Sassoon. But I need more examples from different eras and don't know any.

There's one poem I read years ago that was so moving, but I can't remember any of it. The poet watches Death stalk across the battlefield commiting the worst atrocities possible then, in the last line, Death gives the poet an awful smile to let the poet know he's watching. Does that ring a bell?

And isn't there one by Byron where some ancient Greek army is compared to leaves falling from trees ???

Any and all suggestions please.

"Charge of the Light Brigade" by Tennyson

the Vietnam era song "Fixin' to Die Rag" by Country Joe and the Fish

"In Flanders Field" by John McCrae

Websites:  120 War Poems - Poems of War (indexed by title, author, and war)

About.com:poetry - Poems of War and Remembrance

gingerbubbles's profile pic

gingerbubbles | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Oh, yes, I did Dylan as poetry when teaching my son sixth grade. If you're going to do Dylan, I'd recomend Pearl Jam's cover of Masters of War.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG443N7lo4Q

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