PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: to access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
PN Review Prize winners announced
Carcanet Press and PN Review are delighted to announce the winners of the first ever PN Review Prize. read more
Most Read... Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott
1930–2017

(PN Review 235)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue CELEBRATING JOHN ASHBERY Contributors include Mark Ford, Marina Warner, Jeremy Over, Theophilus Kwek, Sam Riviere, Luke Kennard, Philip Terry,Agnes Lehoczky, Emily Critchley, Oli Hazard and others Miles Champion The Gold Standard Rebecca Watts The Cult of the Noble Amateur Marina Tsvetaeva ‘My desire has the features of a woman’: Two Letters translated by Christopher Whyte Iain Bamforth Black and White

This review is taken from PN Review 200, Volume 37 Number 6, June - July 2011.

QUIET GUILT DIEDERIK OOSTDIJK, Among the Nightmare Fighters: American Poets of World War II (University of South Carolina Press) $49.95

In the introduction to his anthology, Poets of World War II (2003), Harvey Shapiro writes: 'common wisdom has it that the poets of World War I - Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Isaac Rosenberg - left us a monument and the poets of World War II did not'. Diederik Oostdijk's Among the Nightmare Fighters offers a detailed and lucid exploration of many of the poets represented in Shapiro's anthology and convincingly questions this consensus. Oostdijk follows the 'middle generation' of poets (which included Randall Jarrell, Robert Lowell, Anthony Hecht, Howard Nemerov, Karl Shapiro and William Stafford) from their polite break with their New Critical mentors and their efforts to move beyond Modernism, through their various experiences of World War II, to their weary responses to the Vietnam War, arguing that, collectively, 'their poetry steadfastly but quietly expresses their general unease about what the war meant about themselves, their country, and humankind'.

While there are some chapters which focus on individual authors (e.g. 'Robert Lowell's Ideological Vacillations' and 'Randall Jarrell's Secondhand Reality'), Oostdijk's approach is to draw connections among these poets, and most sections develop through astute close readings of poems, letters, diary entries and unpublished drafts by a range of writers. He acknowledges that 'the body of poetry of this war is extremely varied', but suggests that these poets share significant concerns. There is an acute awareness of poetic tradition among this generation (most of these men were also literary scholars who taught at ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image