With a Preface by Desmond Graham and an Introduction by Ted Hughes.
The complete poems of perhaps the most brilliant poet of World War II, who was killed in battle in Normandy.
Actors waiting in the wings of Europe
we already watch the lights on the stage
and listen to the colossal overture begin.
For us entering at the height of the din
it will be hard to hear our thoughts, hard to gauge
how much our conduct owes to fear or fury.
--from "Actors Waiting in the Wings of Europe"
This is the definitive edition of the complete poems of Keith Douglas, who is now recognized as the poet who conveyed the horror of World War II as powerfully as Owen and Sassoon conveyed the terror of World War I. Killed in battle in France at the age of twenty-four, Douglas concerned himself in his early poems with the wonder and pain of love, while his later poems are focused on the misery and brutality of war and death. More than fifty years after his death, his poems still convey a rare immediacy and youthful power, marked--as Desmond Graham writes in his Preface--by a "seemingly effortless lucidity and command."