When I was working on ‘The natures of war’ (DOWNLOADS tab; the slide above is from my presentation) I stumbled across the poetry of Keith Douglas and his prose account of the desert war, From Alamein to Zem Zem (see my post here).
I was familiar with the soldier-poets of the First World War, of course, but I confess I had no idea how much fine poetry had emerged from the deserts of North Africa in the 1940s. Ironically, Edmund Blunden was Douglas’s tutor at Oxford….
The LA Review of Books recently published an appreciation of Douglas’s importance by Steven Isenberg here:
Douglas wrote Alamein to Zem Zem (1946), his account of men and tanks in North Africa, so close in time and space to the desert battlegrounds that it pulses with ebullient immediacy. He became the answer to his own question: “Why are there no poets like [Wilfred] Owen and Sassoon who lived with the fighting troops and wrote of their experience while enduring them?”