Jessie Pope's War Poems

Jessie Pope's War Poems

by Jesse Pope
     
 

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Jessie Pope (18 March 1868 - 14 December 1941) was an English poet, writer and journalist, who remains best known for her patriotic motivational poems published during World War I. Wilfred Owen directed his poem Dulce et Decorum Est at Pope, whose literary reputation has faded into relative obscurity as the works of war poets such as Owen and Siegfried Sassoon has…  See more details below

Overview

Jessie Pope (18 March 1868 - 14 December 1941) was an English poet, writer and journalist, who remains best known for her patriotic motivational poems published during World War I. Wilfred Owen directed his poem Dulce et Decorum Est at Pope, whose literary reputation has faded into relative obscurity as the works of war poets such as Owen and Siegfried Sassoon has grown.

Pope's war poetry was originally published in The Daily Mail; it encouraged enlistment and handed a white feather to youths who would not join the colors. Nowadays, this poetry is considered to be jingoistic, consisting of simple rhythms and rhyme schemes, with extensive use of rhetorical questions to persuade (and sometimes pressure) young men to join the war. Pope was widely published during the war, apart from newspaper publication producing three volumes: Jessie Pope's War Poems (1915), More War Poems (1915) and Simple Rhymes for Stirring Times (1916).

Her treatment of the subject is markedly in stark contrast to the anti-war stance of soldier poets such as Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Many of these men found her work distasteful, Owen in particular. His poem Dulce et Decorum Est was a direct response to her writing, originally dedicated "To Jessie Pope etc.". A later draft amended this as "To a certain Poetess", later being removed completely to turn the poem into a general attack on anyone sympathetic to the war. In hindsight, Pope's poetry seems to take a light-hearted approach towards a conflict nowadays considered brutal in the extreme, though her views were by no means atypical of the general public at the time.

Pope is prominently remembered first for her pro-war poetry, but also as a representative of homefront female propagandists such as Mrs Humphry Ward, May Wedderburn Cannan, Emma Orczy, and entertainers such as Vesta Tilley. In particular, the poem "War Girls", similar in structure to her pro-war poetry, states how "No longer caged and penned up/They're going to keep their end up/Until the khaki soldier boys come marching back". Though largely unknown at the time, the War Poets like Nichols, Sassoon and Owen, as well as later writers such as Edmund Blunden, Robert Graves, and Richard Aldington, have come to define the experience of the First World War.

Pope's work is today often presented in schools and anthologies as a counterpoint to the work of the War Poets, a comparison by which her pro-war work suffers both technically and politically. Some writers have attempted a partial re-appraisal of her work as an early pioneer of English women in the workforce, while still critical of both the content and artistic merit of her war poetry. Reminded that Pope was primarily a humourist and writer of light verse, her success in publishing and journalism during the pre-war era, when she was described as the "foremost woman humourist" of her day has been overshadowed by her propagandistic war poems. Her verse has been mined for sympathetic portrayals of the poor and powerless, of women urged to be strong and self-reliant. Her portrayal of the Suffragettes in a pair of counterpointed 1909 poems makes a case both for and against their actions.

After the war, Pope continued to write, penning a short novel, poems—many of which continued to reflect upon the war and its aftermath—and books for children. She married a widower bank manager in 1929, when she was 61, and moved from London to Fritton, near Great Yarmouth. She died on December, 14, 1941 in Devon.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940015539721
Publisher:
Balefire Publishing
Publication date:
10/01/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
50
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Jessie Pope (18 March 1868 - 14 December 1941) was an English poet, writer and journalist, who remains best known for her patriotic motivational poems published during World War I. Wilfred Owen directed his poem Dulce et Decorum Est at Pope, whose literary reputation has faded into relative obscurity as the works of war poets such as Owen and Siegfried Sassoon has grown.

Pope's war poetry was originally published in The Daily Mail; it encouraged enlistment and handed a white feather to youths who would not join the colors. Nowadays, this poetry is considered to be jingoistic, consisting of simple rhythms and rhyme schemes, with extensive use of rhetorical questions to persuade (and sometimes pressure) young men to join the war. Pope was widely published during the war, apart from newspaper publication producing three volumes: Jessie Pope's War Poems (1915), More War Poems (1915) and Simple Rhymes for Stirring Times (1916).

Her treatment of the subject is markedly in stark contrast to the anti-war stance of soldier poets such as Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Many of these men found her work distasteful, Owen in particular. His poem Dulce et Decorum Est was a direct response to her writing, originally dedicated "To Jessie Pope etc.". A later draft amended this as "To a certain Poetess", later being removed completely to turn the poem into a general attack on anyone sympathetic to the war. In hindsight, Pope's poetry seems to take a light-hearted approach towards a conflict nowadays considered brutal in the extreme, though her views were by no means atypical of the general public at the time.

Pope is prominently remembered first for her pro-war poetry, but also as a representative of homefront female propagandists such as Mrs Humphry Ward, May Wedderburn Cannan, Emma Orczy, and entertainers such as Vesta Tilley. In particular, the poem "War Girls", similar in structure to her pro-war poetry, states how "No longer caged and penned up/They're going to keep their end up/Until the khaki soldier boys come marching back". Though largely unknown at the time, the War Poets like Nichols, Sassoon and Owen, as well as later writers such as Edmund Blunden, Robert Graves, and Richard Aldington, have come to define the experience of the First World War.

Pope's pro-work is today often presented in schools and anthologies as a counterpoint to the work of the War Poets, a comparison by which her work suffers both technically and political.

Read More

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