Australian Poetry of the First World War: A Survey


Australian poetry of the First World War began with a flood of patriotic verse, similar in sentiment to the verse that flowed during 1914 and 1915 from the pens of many poets and rhymesters in Britain. But whereas Britain at least had poets of the calibre of Thomas Hardy, Rupert Brooke, Laurence Binyon, Julian Grenfell, and W. N. Hodgson, to sing of International Justice, Heroism, and Love of Country, Australia could produce no inspirational war poet greater than Lawson or, later, a hate-ridden Christopher Brennan. Thus, the patriotic volumes published by Australians in the early years of the war are composed of crude verses, which invite comparison not with the genuine poets of Britain but with the popular versifiers such as William Watson and John Oxcnham.

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Published 1 May 1970 in Volume 4 No. 3. Subjects: War poetry, World War I.

Cite as: Laird, J. T.. ‘Australian Poetry of the First World War: A Survey.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 4, no. 3, 1970, doi: 10.20314/als.fc3d80e223.