Simplify Me When I'm Dead: Poems Selected by Ted Hughes

Overview

Remember me when I am dead

and simplify me when I'm dead.

As the processes of earth

strip off the colour and the skin

take the brown hair and blue eye

and leave me simpler than at birth

when hairless I ...

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Overview

Remember me when I am dead

and simplify me when I'm dead.

As the processes of earth

strip off the colour and the skin

take the brown hair and blue eye

and leave me simpler than at birth

when hairless I came howling in

as the moon came in the cold sky.

—from “Simplify me when I'm dead

By the time he was killed in Normandy in June 1944, at the age of only twenty-four, Keith Douglas had achieved a body of work that singled him out as the most brilliant and promising English poet of World War II. While his early poems deal with the wonder and pain of love, his later poems are focused on the misery and brutality of war and death. His body of work still conveys a rare immediacy and youthful power, marked—as Ted Hughes wrote in his introduction—by a “burning exploratory freshness of mind.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Each poem turns out to be an exercise [and] whatever they are, these 'exercises' display [the poet's] striving towards and, briefly, perfecting the qualities we value in him: the incisive, nimble glance, the uniquely tempered music, the simple, point-blank, bull's-eye statement, the tensile delicacy.” —Ted Hughes, from his Introduction

“Ted did a beautiful [BBC radio] program on a marvelous young British poet, Keith Douglas, killed in the last war... Both of us mourn this poet immensely and feel he would have been like a lovely big brother to us.” —from a letter Sylvia Plath wrote to her mother in June 1962

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780571230389
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber
  • Publication date: 6/8/2010
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

KEITH DOUGLAS was also the author of a memoir of his experiences in World War II, Alamein to Zem Zem. He died in France in June 1944.

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