Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The Canadian poetry of the Great War in English has been critically neglected. This thesis offers an overview of that poetry, and attempts to provide a basis for further study.
Like the British poetry of the First World War, the Canadian poetry of that era in English is marked by a struggle between abstract systems and realistic depictions of the war. While the poetry can be classified according to themes, each of these, and the poems that embody them, can be placed on a scale of abstraction and realism. Many poems include elements of both. Chapter I is a general examination of this dialectic in the British and Canadian poetry of the war. Chapter II shows how several Canadian poets employed abstract systems, obscuring reality. The denial of death's finality, as in John McCrae's influential "In Flanders Fields", is the most marked of these abstractions. Chapter III is a consideration of the motherhood motif which operates on colonial, personal and natural levels, as well as of the poetical depiction of the natural world, both based to some degree on abstract concepts but also often containing elements of realism. In the poetry considered in Chapter IV, this interaction remains important, but an almost pure form of realism characterizes the poetry of trifles. Chapter V explores direct, realistic poetry which looks forward to more modern poetic endeavours. The epilogue examines the final abandonment of abstraction following the war.
Paci, Timothy Peter, "The Canadian Poetry of the First World War in English: A Thematic Study" (1994). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6449.
McMaster University Library