The Lost Generation : World War I Poetry : C.E. Andrews

Cover of From the Front my Andrews.


During World War I, a genre of poetry emerged from the front lines termed “Trench Poetry.” It was inspired by the soldiers’ daily life on the front, especially the constant witnessing and interacting with horrifying scenes. The editor of this book, Lieutenant C. E. Andrews, served in the Aviation Section, Signal Reserve Corps during World War I. Surprisingly, during the course of his examination of “thousands of the poems from the front [that] have appeared in newspapers and magazines,” Andrews learned that most trench poetry was not written by soldiers, but by “men of cultivation, Doctor, dons, actors, journalists university students” since the soldiers in the front lines had no time to absorb their experience in order to reflect it in a condensed rhetorical form. In his introduction on “trench poetry,” Andrews argues that the most canonical poetry is not written by “forgers of experience” but by “men with sense of the word.” As a result, the reactions of soldiers normally appeared either through letters to their families and loved ones or through familiar, short lyrics. This is what Andrews selects for his collection From the Front.

The book was published by D. Appleton & Co, London 1918 and all its royalties went to the British Red Cross fund. It is bound in an uniform green cloth binding, and the front cover bears the title “From the Front,” the full name of the editor in all caps, and a logo of two swords crossed, a hat in the middle, and olive leaves wreath circling the swords, all of which was stamped with gold metallic color. The book includes an index of authors and of first lines in the back, which allows the reader to navigate the collection and find poems by specific authors. 

Find From the Front in the UNT Library Catalog.