British poetry on the Spanish civil war

This video is about Picasso.

Pablo Picasso made his famous painting Guernica, on the nazi German bombing of this Basque city during the Spanish civil war.

From London daily The Morning Star:

POETRY: The Spanish civil war

ANDY CROFT appreciates an anthology of poetry from the Spanish civil war, penned by those who were in the thick of it.

Probably the most famous poem about the Spanish civil war was WH Auden’s Spain, written after a brief visit to the country in 1937.

Auden’s image of “poets exploding like bombs” and the line about the “conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder” have encouraged historians to think of the men and women who served the cause of the Spanish republic as bloodthirsty young Bloomsbury poets.

Poems from Spain should certainly help to challenge this kind of lazy cold war caricature.

Published in association with the International Brigades Memorial Trust to mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish civil war, it is the first anthology solely devoted to poems written by British International Brigaders ….

There are 85 poems here, written by 33 volunteers, six of whom did not return from Spain.

It does not include any poems by famous non-combatants such as Spender and Auden.

A few of these poems have become justly celebrated, notably Alex McDade‘s Valley of Jarama, Tom Wintringham‘s Monument and John Cornford‘s Full Moon at Tierz, A Letter from Aragon and To Margaret Heinemann.

Others, by Clive Branson, Miles Tomalin and Charles Donnelly have appeared in previous anthologies.

The real value of this book, however, lies in the inclusion of a great many poems which have been out of print for decades or have never previously been published.

There are some wonderful poems here by Bill Feeley, Tony MacLean, Bill Harrington, Eric Edney, John Dunlop, Aileen Palmer and the editor’s father Jimmy Jump – variously rhetorical, bitter, documentary, prophetic, lyrical, satirical, warm and heroic.

8 thoughts on “British poetry on the Spanish civil war

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