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    Susan Webster's last comments on poems and poets

    • POEM: The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell (7/25/2006 10:28:00 AM)

      One of the first poems I memorised. The enormity (and banality) of the sacrifice of this almost embryonic life is encapsulated in a mere five lines. So timely to re-read this poem just now, as another senseless war in the Middle East (July,2006) pushes up similar sacrifices of innocent and ignorant pseudo-warriors.

    • POEM: Losses by Randall Jarrell (7/25/2006 10:22:00 AM)

      One of the great poems about the alienation of war, expressing particularly well the narrator's lack of life experience. He has nothing but high school to compare to the huge, all-encompassing experiences of war. His lack of any life beyond high school before he is sacrificed in the war increases his loss - he has lost all the potential of his life - and he doesn't really understand why he is making this sacrifice. Jarrell is, to me, the great poet of WWII, and a better poet at conveying the existentialism of the warrior than any of the great English WWI poets.