Edward Thomas: Selected Poems, Edited by Matthew Hollis

Tome of the unknown war poet

Lesley McDowell
Sunday 23 October 2011 08:31

Edward Thomas, who was killed on the battlefields of the First World War when he was a 39-year-old father of three, has long been overshadowed by other war poets, but his Wordsworthian appreciation of nature and favouring of "common speech" have increasingly found favour.

Here, Matthew Hollis introduces us to some sublime poems, and also some very moving prose. Thomas's short piece on love poetry contains a line as beautiful as any poem: "Love opens the door, but it does not know what is within, whether it be treasure, nothingness or devils." A strain of melancholy permeates poems such as "March", a reflection of the depression with which he struggled for all of his short life.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments