Keith Douglas

Rating: 5
Rating: 5

Keith Douglas Biography


Douglas described his poetic style as 'extrospective'; that is, he focused on external impressions rather than inner emotions. The result is a poetry which, according to his detractors, can be callous in the midst of war's atrocities. For others, Douglas's work is powerful and unsettling because its exact descriptions eschew egotism and shift the burden of emotion from the poet to the reader. His best poetry is generally considered to rank alongside the twentieth-century's finest soldier-poetry.

In his poem, "Desert Flowers" (1943), Douglas mentions World War I poet Isaac Rosenberg claiming that he is only repeating what "Isaac" has already written.

Early Life

Douglas was born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the son of Capt. Keith Sholto Douglas, MC (retired) and Marie Josephi ...

Keith Douglas Comments

Dick Bird 12 May 2008

A very underrated poet, a tragedy enough he should die so young after a not particularly happy early life compounded by the fact that his work is overlooked. His awareness of the humanity of the enemy sets apart from even Owen; his victims are real men with mothers and girlfriends. His poems are technically innovative and his images persist.

32 7 Reply
Allan Lindsay 27 July 2013

Simply a great poet - who should be greater read

15 6 Reply
Terry Craddock 30 April 2015

Superb touch, an exceptionally gifted and underrated poet.

11 3 Reply
Sean Macken 19 October 2015

Eloquent, Moving. Like Donne at times

7 2 Reply
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Sylvia Frances Chan 03 December 2021

Congratulations to the family of the late Captain Poet Douglas chosen as The Poet Of The Day! He is a war hero, died while on service in World War 2. A greatest deed, dying while the bullets were going through them

0 0 Reply
tyrone 20 January 2020

who else is doing this for school :)

14 0 Reply
Mike Houlding 15 September 2019

Keith Douglas typifies to me the warrior poet. His eagerness to fight in a cause he believed in, his lack of self pity and - in the Canoe, which I think is his finest poem - his premonition of death elevates him to tragic mastery.

1 0 Reply
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The Best Poem Of Keith Douglas


Three weeks gone and the combatants gone
returning over the nightmare ground
we found the place again, and found
the soldier sprawling in the sun.

The frowning barrel of his gun
overshadowing. As we came on
that day, he hit my tank with one
like the entry of a demon.

Look. Here in the gunpit spoil
the dishonoured picture of his girl
who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht.
in a copybook gothic script.

We see him almost with content,
abased, and seeming to have paid
and mocked at by his own equipment
that's hard and good when he's decayed.

But she would weep to see today
how on his skin the swart flies move;
the dust upon the paper eye
and the burst stomach like a cave.

For here the lover and killer are mingled
who had one body and one heart.
And death who had the soldier singled
has done the lover mortal hurt.

Keith Douglas Popularity

Keith Douglas Popularity

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