“Above all I am not concerned with Poetry. My subject is war, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity.” (Wilfred Owen, 1893-1918)
The First World War has had devastating effects worldwide; at the same time, no other war has caused so many poets, soldiers in the trenches, men and women at the home front to voice their thoughts and feelings in poetry. These poems show widely varying reactions to the war: some poems in optimistic tones call men to fight for their fatherland, many others show in penetrating images the shocking and inhuman reality of life in the trenches and paint a haunting image of the devastation of an entire generation of young lives. Some poems have an elegiac note of sad resignation, others are an ironic exposure of the hollow nationalism that had driven so many men to their destruction.
On Tuesday 25 November an evening of war poetry and music will take place in the Small Courtroom of the Peace Palace. The program was compiled by poet and professor in English literature Onno Kosters, and covers both famous and lesser known poets, English classics next to poems from France, Germany, Italy and Hungary. The poetry will be alternated with musical intermezzo’s. The music has been selected and adapted for the theme of the evening by Renan Zelada, varies from Satie to Gregorian, and will be performed by students of the Royal Conservatoire.
Doors open 19:30. A ticket also allows to a guided visit of the exhibition on Peace Illusion Disturbed, by Jeroen Vervliet, Peace Palace Library Director (starting at 19:45. War Poetry reading starts at 20:15). Tickets € 7, students € 5
A selection of relevant publications from the Peace Palace Library collection
- Deperchin, A., “The Laws of War”, in The Cambridge History of the First World War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 615-638.
- Horne, J., “Atrocities and War Crimes”, in The Cambridge History of the First World War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 561-584.
- Kieser, H.-L., “Genocide”, in The Cambridge History of the First World War, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 585-614.
- Kramer, A., “Martial Law and War Crimes”, in Brill’s Encyclopedia of the First World War, Leiden, Brill, 2012, pp. 220-229.
- Neiberg, M.S., ”World War I”, in The Cambridge History of War, Vol. 4, pp. 192-213.