Keith Douglas

Keith Douglas was 24 when he was killed during the invasion of Normandy, in 1944. His poems describe with difficult-to-read precision the actions required of a modern soldier, forcing the reader to face the realities of war without offering the moral release of great emotional distress. Douglas acknowledged openly that the First World War poets had perfectly expressed the horrors of war, and the subjective experience of the individual soldier, and so sought to convey this horror in a very different, detached style: “Now in my dial of glass appears / the soldier who is going to die” (‘How to Kill’).

Keith Douglas is one of the poets who young poets can respond to in our annual Timothy Corsellis Prize. Find out how you can get involved here.