Poet's Corner, Westminister Abbey
Poetry has a way of connecting us to the core of what we feel. How often we find ourselves saying, “I don’t have the words,” but somehow a poem can reach inside us and manage to convey what we can’t say with mere words. In many ways, poetry provides a bridge to healing, an invisible structure that permits our feelings to commune with our thoughts.
On the pages in this section of the module are the renderings of poets who have been hailed as outstanding contributors to the Poetry of the Great War. They represent Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States. Several of them are featured in Voices in Wartime. While each poet is associated with writing of war, many of these individuals are regarded as writers of themes outside of the misery and emotional turmoil of the death and despair that comes with the battles and guns of war.
In England’s grand Westminster Abbey there exists a Poet’s Corner. It is here that some of the nation’s most famous poets: Tennyson, Dryden, Robert Browning, and John Mansfield have been buried along with writers of the caliber of Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, and Thomas Hardy. It was about 20 years ago, November 11, 1985, that a slate stone was unveiled to mark the 67th anniversary of the Armistice and to commemorate Britain’s poets of the Great War.
The memorial pays tribute to 16 men: Richard Aldington, Laurence Binyon, Edmund Blunden, Rupert Brooke, Wilfrid Gibson, Robert Graves, Julian Grenfell, Ivor Gurney, David Jones, Robert Nichols, Wilfred Owen, Herbert Read, Isaac Rosenberg, Siegfried Sassoon, Charles Sorley, and Edward Thomas. All sixteen of these poets served in uniform during The First World War. Of the sixteen, six lost their lives in the war: Brooke, Grenfell, Owen, Rosenberg, Sorley and Thomas. The only poet alive for the unveiling of the memorial was Robert Graves. He died just a few months after the dedication. The inscription on the memorial comes from the words of Wilfred Owen: "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity."