It used to be held an unchallengeable truth that the quality of poetry produced in the Second World War was no match for that of the Great War, as the First World War is still called. […] The second war, so opinion had it, produced nothing to rival this outpouring, either in quantity or quality.
Wrong. [John Lucas, Second World War Poetry in English, Greenwich Exchange, 2013]
The widespread ignorance of Second World War poetry is disturbing. Why it persists is a question cultural historians should address and a curriculum imbalance that educationalists should urgently correct. Too many schoolchildren (and too many teachers) need to be reminded how warfare – and poetry – have changed since 1918. [Jon Stallworthy, The New Oxford Book of War Poetry, Oxford University Press, 2014]
Inspired by John Lucas and Jon Stallworthy, we hope that this site will begin to dispel the notion that the poetry of the Second World War is at best a poor relation to that produced during the First World War.
This website provides a legacy for everyone with a love of literature or who wants to explore more about the war. We want to encourage involvement from organisations and groups such as museums, archives, libraries, universities, colleges and schools. Our aim is to involve the many special-interest poetry associations and groups that exist here in the UK and overseas as well.
Anyone can submit comments, poems, readings and relevant photographs to the site. There are links to social media and other projects, as well as links to other sites and organisations. You can contribute to our message board and even submit readings or video clips of your own here. We’d love to hear from you but please note that all contributions will be vetted.