Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Remembering 100 Years of the First World War

Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Remembering 100 Years of the First World War

Article excerpt

Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina: It is after 4:00 pm. The conference rooms are deserted. People are putting away their laptops. A group of three are making plans for the night. A bearded student is checking his phone. The breakout room has a sign announcing, The Hermeneutics of World War I Poetry. The poet makes his way to the podium. He taps the mic. There's a little feedback. He is the last presenter. "I'd like to read one final John Doe poem. This one comes out of the Battle of the Somme. The soldier could not be identified. In his pocket was a paper containing this poem:

Soldiers Song1

My tools are few. I have only a pen.

Its tip is cracked. My ink is caked with dirt.

My gloves shaking. Too many holes to mend.

No desk. …

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