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Auden, Day, Lewis, Spender, MacNeice and the other key poets of the Thirties were children of the First World War, obsessed by war and by communalism, by the class-struggle and a passionate belief in poets as people whose actions are as publically important as their poems.For them, the Spanish Civil War epitomized the mood of the times, as their symbolic obsessions were tr Auden, Day, Lewis, Spender, MacNeice and the other key poets of the Thirties were children of the First World War, obsessed by war and by communalism, by the class-struggle and a passionate belief in poets as people whose actions are as publically important as their poems.For them, the Spanish Civil War epitomized the mood of the times, as their symbolic obsessions were transmuted into tragic reality. But from within their strongly defined unity of ideals, an astonishingly varied body of poetry emerged. Robin Skelton has arranged the poetry to make an illuminating ‘critical essay’ of the period, and in his introduction he brilliantly probes the moods and mores of an intensely troubled and creative decade.


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Auden, Day, Lewis, Spender, MacNeice and the other key poets of the Thirties were children of the First World War, obsessed by war and by communalism, by the class-struggle and a passionate belief in poets as people whose actions are as publically important as their poems.For them, the Spanish Civil War epitomized the mood of the times, as their symbolic obsessions were tr Auden, Day, Lewis, Spender, MacNeice and the other key poets of the Thirties were children of the First World War, obsessed by war and by communalism, by the class-struggle and a passionate belief in poets as people whose actions are as publically important as their poems.For them, the Spanish Civil War epitomized the mood of the times, as their symbolic obsessions were transmuted into tragic reality. But from within their strongly defined unity of ideals, an astonishingly varied body of poetry emerged. Robin Skelton has arranged the poetry to make an illuminating ‘critical essay’ of the period, and in his introduction he brilliantly probes the moods and mores of an intensely troubled and creative decade.

30 review for Poetry of the Thirties

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

    The 1930s for poets - depression, new politics and a gathering storm..a self consciousness and awareness and the idealised romance of the Spanish civil war..the big hitters are here: Louis Macneice, something of a depressive divorcee, displaced Irishman, class warrior, wandering in London Rain and pondering imperial shame in the British Museum reading room. Auden, poster boy for disaffected distance, going to neutral America and waiting for 1939 to burn back in Europe. Laurie Lee, drifting far from The 1930s for poets - depression, new politics and a gathering storm..a self consciousness and awareness and the idealised romance of the Spanish civil war..the big hitters are here: Louis Macneice, something of a depressive divorcee, displaced Irishman, class warrior, wandering in London Rain and pondering imperial shame in the British Museum reading room. Auden, poster boy for disaffected distance, going to neutral America and waiting for 1939 to burn back in Europe. Laurie Lee, drifting far from sleepy Gloucestershire and playing fiddle for his supper in small Spanish towns. Dylan Thomas, new, daring thought prose that still sparkles and challenges. Betjeman's populist easy rhymes of class (rhyme with arse), but there's few better provincial ends than a Death in Leamington. Spender "all mystery or nothing", and C Day Lewis; communist leanings and poor sub-Eliot half images. The smaller names' words still resonate: Randall Swingler, Norman Cameron, Philip O'Connor..but only one woman; Anne Ridler. No one seemed that interested in whatever women had to say it seems. The 1930s - last word to Charles Madge: "We shall be differently aware, we shall see all things new, not as a craze or a surprise, but hard, naked, true.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Santino Prinzi

    I've read the section I need to, and I am doubtless that I will be reading it again and again in future for the essay I have to write. I wish I could read the whole thing but at this moment in time - I haven't any! This is the same problem I had for Metamorphoses. However, I love these poems. We were focusing on the Spanish Civil War poetry, a war that came between WWI and WWII but is often overshadowed by both. It was one of the first wars where British citizens really saw in the press the horr I've read the section I need to, and I am doubtless that I will be reading it again and again in future for the essay I have to write. I wish I could read the whole thing but at this moment in time - I haven't any! This is the same problem I had for Metamorphoses. However, I love these poems. We were focusing on the Spanish Civil War poetry, a war that came between WWI and WWII but is often overshadowed by both. It was one of the first wars where British citizens really saw in the press the horrors of war. If the rest of the 1930s collection is as good as the Spanish Civil War poems, then this book easily deserved the rating I have awarded it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelsie

    Sometimes I just need to accept that poetry ain't my thing. God knows I've tried and tried again to get into it but every book of poetry I come across just makes me feel dumb because I don't understand what the hell they are talking about, a whole lot of nonsensical word vomit, well to me, obviously it's not nonsensical to others. There's quite a lot of poems in this here book, I'm bad at judging how much but I'd assume over 100 & I liked a grand total of 3. The first one was Lament For A Lost Lif Sometimes I just need to accept that poetry ain't my thing. God knows I've tried and tried again to get into it but every book of poetry I come across just makes me feel dumb because I don't understand what the hell they are talking about, a whole lot of nonsensical word vomit, well to me, obviously it's not nonsensical to others. There's quite a lot of poems in this here book, I'm bad at judging how much but I'd assume over 100 & I liked a grand total of 3. The first one was Lament For A Lost Life by H. B. Mallalieu, the next was Offering by Kenneth Allott and finally Prognosis by Louis MacNeice. I understood and enjoyed them. I guess what I would like from poems is just a teeny tiny explanation under the title of the poem as to what said poem is about, maybe I'd understand and appreciate them more. You all know I'll probably buy another book of poetry in hopes that this one will be the one that I'm like 'I LOVE IT!' but, alas, it wasn't this one. You win this round again, poems. Until next time... x

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pewterbreath

    Never before have I read a book that so represented its times. The poetry in here is wonderful, and has a distinctive flavor--stuff like this simply isn't written anymore--styles change. . .I don't know. It's also good to see how poets fit into their times (if this makes any sense). Sometimes I think if we published a book of representative poetry from each year we would know a great deal more about history than what we do.. Never before have I read a book that so represented its times. The poetry in here is wonderful, and has a distinctive flavor--stuff like this simply isn't written anymore--styles change. . .I don't know. It's also good to see how poets fit into their times (if this makes any sense). Sometimes I think if we published a book of representative poetry from each year we would know a great deal more about history than what we do..

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Taylor

    All the greats are here with many of their most famous poems but for me it is Louis Macneice that I find most engaging (and most underrated)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christian Dabnor

    Not a big poetry person, but I enjoyed much of what was in here.

  7. 5 out of 5

    James Everington

    I enjoyed and appreciated some of the poems in this book, but I was left with a persistent sense that this generation of poets wasn't as strong as the one that preceded it - no talent on the scale of TS Eliot for example. It didn't help that the poems I thought the best in this volume were by Dylan Thomas, and I already knew those. Also less notes & period detail than other Penguin poetry books I have. I enjoyed and appreciated some of the poems in this book, but I was left with a persistent sense that this generation of poets wasn't as strong as the one that preceded it - no talent on the scale of TS Eliot for example. It didn't help that the poems I thought the best in this volume were by Dylan Thomas, and I already knew those. Also less notes & period detail than other Penguin poetry books I have.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tim Rideout

    An intelligent and thoughtful selection by Robin Skelton. So many of the poems were written as a response to crises (the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Fascism, the coming of further global war). Where is the equivalent poetry of 2016? We need poetic truth more now than ever.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ignatz

    As with most anthologies, some great poems, some terrible, mostly alright. It's really a collection of the Auden Generation rather than 'the Thirties', and it was interesting to see what ideas and motifs and techniques came up again and again. I don't know enough about the period to assess it beyond that, but I got some names of poets to look further into, so what more can I ask for really? As with most anthologies, some great poems, some terrible, mostly alright. It's really a collection of the Auden Generation rather than 'the Thirties', and it was interesting to see what ideas and motifs and techniques came up again and again. I don't know enough about the period to assess it beyond that, but I got some names of poets to look further into, so what more can I ask for really?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paul Ferguson

    I love so many of the poems and poets in this collection that I expected to know it all but this collection is full of obscurities (at least to me) and delights. I especially enjoyed HB Mallalieu’s Lament for a Lost Life. The experience of reading this was enhanced by my buying it from Word on the Water, the London book barge.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Graham

    A real sense of the progressive politics of the time and how much I've been underestimating Betjeman. A real sense of the progressive politics of the time and how much I've been underestimating Betjeman.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessie B.

    An interesting collection

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark Vallianatos

    Love this collection from the cubist cover to the light penguin blue to some nifty, moving, if sometimes overdramatic poems like Rex Warner's hymn and sonnet, willian empson's just a smack at Auden and missing dates, Gavin ewart's Audenesque for an initiation, Michael roberts' the secret springs, wh auden's and I remember Spain Love this collection from the cubist cover to the light penguin blue to some nifty, moving, if sometimes overdramatic poems like Rex Warner's hymn and sonnet, willian empson's just a smack at Auden and missing dates, Gavin ewart's Audenesque for an initiation, Michael roberts' the secret springs, wh auden's and I remember Spain

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adam Forshaw

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mahmoud Keshk

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ben F

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brian Robbins

  18. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  20. 5 out of 5

    Howards

  21. 4 out of 5

    Danny Lakins

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  23. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Hoare

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gracchus Babeuf

  26. 5 out of 5

    Xio

  27. 4 out of 5

    Iola Wilson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kev Ball

  29. 5 out of 5

    Antonio Hehir

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sue Bridgwater

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