West, Arthur Graeme

(1891-1917)
   Born in Norfolk but raised in London, he was educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton, Devon, and at Baliol College, Oxford. He volunteered in 1915, but was rejected for a commission owing to poor eyesight. However, he enlisted in the ranks of the Public Schools Battalion in February in 1915, was sent to France in November, and was repeatedly in action. His poem "The Night Patrol," written in March 1916, makes him one of the early poets to write about front-line action from direct personal experience. He turned against the war and thought about deserting, but in August he was commissioned into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and rose to the rank of acting captain. His sadness at losing his religious faith is recorded in "The End of the Second Year." He was killed by a sniper's bullet near Bapaume, France. Some of his other poems: "'The Owl Abash'd,'" "God! How I hate you," "God! How I hate you, you young cheerful men!" "On reading ballads," "Seeing her off," "Spurned by the Gods," "Tea in the Garden," "The Last God," "The Night Patrol," "The Traveller."
   Sources: Men Who March Away: Poems of the First World War. I.M. Parsons, ed. Viking Press, 1965. Never Such Innocence: A New Antholog y of Great War Verse. Martin Stephen, ed. Buchan and Enright, 1988. Poetry of the First World War. Edward Hudson, ed. Wayland Publishers Ltd., 1988. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Diary of a Dead Officer: Being the Posthumous Papers of Arthur Graeme West, C.E.M. Joad, ed. Allen and Unwin, 1918. Reissued in 1991 by the Imperial War Museum with an introduction by Dominic Hibbard (http://eudaemonist.com/biblion/west/). The Faber Book of War Poetry. Kenneth Baker, ed. Faber and Faber, 1996. The War Poets Association:, Arthur Graeme West (http://www.warpoets.org/conflicts/greatwar/west/).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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