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. Nor could it rival the sheer volume of verse, good, bad, and indifferent, which came from young men whose families often paid to have put into print slim, invariably posthumous, collections, intended to act as memorials for those who had died in the course of fighting for ‘King and Country’. […] The second war, so opinion had it, produced nothing to rival this outpouring, either in quantity or quality.
Wrong. My own view is that among British poets, Keith Douglas, Hamish Henderson, Sorley MacLean, Alun Lewis and Alan Ross, at least, have written poems to rival the best that came from the earlier war.
John Lucas, Second World War Poetry in English, Greenwich Exchange, 2013