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Soldier poets of the Great War (IV): Robert Graves is over-rated as a poet

I am a fan of Robert Graves’ autobiography, but his poetry leaves me cold. For example, these lines just strike me as awkward: Down pressed the sky, and we, oppressed, thrust out Boastful tongue, clenched fist and valiant yard. That said, I did like these other lines of his: It’s hard to know if you’re ...

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I am a fan of Robert Graves’ autobiography, but his poetry leaves me cold. For example, these lines just strike me as awkward:

Down pressed the sky, and we, oppressed, thrust out

Boastful tongue, clenched fist and valiant yard.

That said, I did like these other lines of his:

It’s hard to know if you’re alive or dead

When steel and fire go roaring through your head.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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