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An Introduction to Edward Thomas

Steph Atkinson | Thursday September 08, 2011

Categories: Poetry, Thomas, Edward Thomas, KS5 Archive, AQA A Level, AQA A Level Pre-2015 Resources, AQA A Level English Literature A, LTA1, OCR A Level, OCR A Level Pre-2015 Resources, OCR A Level English Literature, F661


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Edward Thomas and His Poetry

Edward Thomas is one of our most highly regarded war poets and yet in the popular imagination is perhaps less well-known; his work has attracted the highest critical acclaim.

Here are some comments:

Because all of his poetry was written after the outbreak of war, it is all, in an important sense, war poetry. Behind every line, whether mentioned or not, lies imminent danger and disruption. Andrew Motion

And from the foreword to the Collected Poems of Edward Thomas (1920)

His face was fair, long and rather narrow, and in its customary gravity wore an expression rather distant and detached. There was a glint of gold in his sun-baked hair. The eyes ... were of a clear dark blue ... the lips were finely lined and wide, the chin square. His shoes were to his stature; the hands that had cradled so many wild birds’ eggs, and were familiar with every flower in the Southern counties, were powerful and bony; the gestures few; the frame vigorous ... His smile could be whimsical, stealthy, shy, ardent, mocking, or drily ironical ... His voice was low and gentle but musical, with a curious sweetness and hollowness when he sang his old Welsh songs to his children. I have never heard English used so fastidiously and yet so unaffectedly as in his talk. Style in talk, indeed is a rare charm; and it was his. You could listen to it for its own sake, just as for its style solely you can read a book. He must have thought like that; like that he felt. There were things and people, blind, callous, indifferent, veneered, destructive he hated, because he loved life, loved to talk about it, rare and racy, old and charactered. He might avoid, did avoid, what intimidated, chilled, or made him self-conscious; he never condescended. So children and the aged, the unfriended and the free were as natural and welcome to him as swallows under the eaves ... What...

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