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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $24.50

224 pp.
5.2" x 8.1"


Publication date:
May 2009

Imprint: OUP Canada

Canadian Poetry from World War I

An Anthology

Edited by Joel Baetz

Series : Milestones in Canadian Literature

No Canadian life was untouched by the events of World War I. Over 600,000 soldiers went to the battlefields; of these, one-third were either killed or seriously injured. Those who remained behind at home were desperate for news or description of life on the front-lines. It is no surprise that there was considerable demand for news reports, literature, or poetry.

While most of us struggle to name a single Canadian war poem beyond John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields," hundreds of poems, anthologies, and collections about the war were published in Canada during the Great War and the following decade. But to date there has been no careful selection of poetry. Many of Canada's key authors of the period depicted aspects of wartime experience, from Charles G.D. Roberts to A.J.M. Smith, from Marjorie Pickthall and Helena Coleman to Frank Prewett and E.J. Pratt, from Robert Service to W.W.E. Ross. Their works have been assembled here for the first time since 1919, and parsed by war literature expert Joel Baetz.

This contemporary edition includes biographical notes, historical references, and explanations of outdated words, making the works accessible to the modern reader. Through the voices of early twentieth-century poets, Baetz offers the harrowing imagery of man-made hell, and how amidst the trenches humanity still clung to the hope and dream of grace.

Readership : As well as being of interest to the general trade, this anthology should be adopted on a range of first-year undergraduate courses in Canadian literature or Canadian poetry.

1. F.O. Call
Gone West
In a Belgian Garden
The Indifferent Ones
The Lace-maker of Bruges
A Song of the Homeland
To a Modern Poet
2. Wilfred Campbell
The Fight Goes On
Our Dead
The Summons
3. Helena Coleman
Convocation Hall, May 18th, 1917
Country of Mine
The Day He Went
Marching Men
Oh, Not When April Wakes the Daffodils
Pro Patria Mortui
The Recruit
'Tis Not the Will That's Wanted
To Our Beloved
When First He Put the Khaki On
4. Private Albert William Drummond
The Battlefield
The Colonial's Challenge
On the Banks of the Somme
The Stretcher-Bearers
5. Anna Durie
A Bugle Call
The Daily Letter
My Heart It Is a Shrine for Deeds of His
At Home
Our Absent Hero
The Return of the Old Battalion
A Soldier's Grave in France
Sunrise in France
Vimy Ridge
6. Douglas Leader Durkin
The Call
Carry On!
The Father Speaks
The Fighting Men of Canada
The Men Who Stood
The Monument
A Woman's Song
7. Katherine Hale
8. John Daniel Logan
Flame of God
9. Wilson MacDonald
The Girl Behind the Man Behind the Gun
10. John McCrae
The Anxious Dead
In Flanders Fields
The Unconquered Dead
11. George Palmer
The Advance
R.I.P. Inconnu
"Up the Line"
12. E.J. Pratt
Dead on the Field of Honour
The Largess of 1917
Ode to December, 1917
Unseen Allies
13. Frank Prewett
Air Raid Warning
The Bombardment
Card Game
The Farm Labourer
Girl Among Bombs
If I Unfold My Fist
Plea for Peace
The Soldier
The Survivor
Voices of Women
14. Sir Charles G.D. Roberts
Cambrai and Marne
Going Over
15. Amy Redpath Roddick
The British Lands
Going West
The Soldiers
16. W.W.E. Ross
Forms Arise
On the Hill
Pensive he sits in the shade
Poperinghe, 1917
Prospect of Wars
Three Deaths
17. Duncan Campbell Scott
To a Canadian Aviator Who Died For His Country in France
To a Canadian Lad Killed in the War
To the Canadian Mothers
Somewhere in France
18. F.G. Scott
A Canadian
A Grave in Flanders
19. Robert Service
The Call
The Man from Athabaska
The Odyssey of 'Erbert 'Iggins
On the Wire
Only a Boche
The Volunteer
Young Fellow My Lad
20. Rose E. Sharland
From the Yukon Down
The Maple Leaf Men
Pro Patria
The Woman's Lament
The Woman's Part
War Gleanings
21. A.J.M. Smith
A Soldier's Ghost
22. Bernard Freeman Trotter
A Canadian Twilight
The Poplars
Ici Repose

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Joel Baetz is Assistant Professor at York University. He is an award-winning teacher and his publications include acting as literary consultant for the CD Waiting There for Me: Songs and Poems from Canadians in World War I (2007).

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Special Features

  • Poetry of World War I, assembled for the first time with an accessible, engaging introduction and notes
  • Little-known works of poetry by some of Canada's most famous authors reveal the struggle and the solidarity of the period
  • This anthology will open up scholarship of this period, providing new insights into Canadian culture, nationalism, and literature
  • A powerful, resonant, and often unrecognized part of the Canadian literary canon, presented here for the first time as part of Oxford's Milestones in Canadian Literature series