Jon Stallworthy – Where are the 21st C. War Poets?

Date(s) - Thursday, January 30, 2014
12:45 pm - 2:15 pm


2 people are going

Seminar Room 3


Loading Map....

Iraq and Afghanistan: Where are the War Poets?


In December 1939, a leading article in the TLS called on ‘poets to sound the trumpet call’, arguing that ‘the monstrous threat to belief and freedom which we are fighting should urge new psalmists to fresh songs of deliverance’. Cecil Day Lewis responded with a poem called ‘Where are the War Poets?’ It began:

 They who in folly or mere greed

Enslave religion, markets, laws,

Borrow our language now and bid

Us to speak up in freedom’s cause.


Day Lewis’s question has been asked in every war since, and Professor Jon Stallworthy (biographer of Wilfred Owen and editor of the forthcoming New Oxford Book of War Poetry) will consider why the responses during and after different wars have been so different.



About Jon Stallworthy:

Jon Stallworthy is Professor Emertius of English at the University of Oxford, and Fellow and former Acting President of Wolfson College, Oxford. Born in 1935, he was educated at the Dragon School, Rugby School, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry. He also served in the Royal West African FrontierForce. He was poetry editor at Oxford University Press and John Wendell Anderson Professor of English at Cornell University, New York.


His collections of poetry include The Astronomy of Love (1961), Out of Bounds (1963), Root and Branch (1969), Hand in Hand (1974), A Familiar Tree (1978), The Anzac Sonata (1986), The Guest from the Future (1995), Rounding the Horn: Collected Poems (1998) and Body Language (2004). His autobiography, The Singing School: The Making of a Poet, was published in 1998 and a collection of essays, Survivors’ Songs, in 2008.


Jon Stallworthy’s work has received numerous awards. His biography of Wilfred Owen (1974) was honored with the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the W. H. Smith Literary Award, and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His study of Yeats won the M. L. Rosenthal Award, while Louis MacNeice: A Biography (1995) won the Southern Arts Literature Prize.


He edited Owen’s Complete Poems and Fragments (1984) and Henry Reed’s Collected Poems, as well as numerous anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of Poetry (1996, with Margaret Ferguson and Mary Jo Salter), A Book of Love Poetry (1974), and The Oxford Book of War Poetry (1984). With Peter France, he co-translated Alexander Blok’s Selected Poems (1970) and Boris Pasternak’s Selected Poems (1983).


Bookings are closed for this event.

Leave a Reply