British Holocaust Poetry: Songs of Experience

Claire M. Tylee

in The Oxford Handbook of British and Irish War Poetry

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199559602
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 British Holocaust Poetry: Songs of Experience

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  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)
  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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This chapter studies the Holocaust poetry that is usually included in anthologies of Second World War poetry, and tries to place the Kindertransport poems as an integral part of the canon of British war poetry. Next, it notes that the Kinder-poets have emphasized the costs of their survival and that their poetry serves as a testament to the Holocaust, showing that these poems are rarely pleasurable and are hard-won. The chapter identifies the problem of finding enough forms of expression as a theme of writing about the Western Front in the First World War. It considers the authenticity of personal testimony in Holocaust literature and tries to widen the notion of what comprises Holocaust poetry, also looking at the gender differences in Holocaust writing and experience, and the oppression of Jewish writers.

Keywords: Holocaust poetry; Kindertransport poems; British war poetry; Kinder-poets; forms of expression; personal testimony; gender differences; oppression

Article.  11453 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets) ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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