H.D. : A Lesser Known Poet Overshadowed by a Larger Global Problem, WWI



H.D. is known for her imaginative imagist poetry which is something that is unique due to the fact that the many images/experiences she portrays conveys an emotion. Her work was known for being artistic and “free” per say, but now she is not really a popular writer in the modern day. You can say that she was pretty much forgotten until she is mentioned with more renowned poets during her time period such as Wilfred Owen and Sigfried Sassoon. Two of her poems published in 1916, “Sea Rose” and “Garden”, depicts the notion that each deals with love and one’s gender and how it affects her relationships. However, there was a very important event going on at the time that overshadows H.D.’s woes of love. WWI was underway and the international attention was directed more towards that since much of the world was involved with the war. The banishment of H.D. in the literary world is understandable since the world was dealing with a massive global problem. Other authors that wrote around her time such as Sasson and Owen gained more attention since they actually wrote about their experiences on the battlefield. These two have been read more on an educational scope in the modern day because they fit in with the overall happenings of WWI.

The Forum is a literary magazine is where a writer’s work was published and articles were written based on political and social issues. In 1916, the same year “Sea Rose” and “Garden” by H.D. were published, other poems and works that discussed WWI is the most prominent. A couple examples of wartime poems from The Forum include, H. Thompson Rich’s “In Memoriam” which memorializes a soldier and “What the Sexton Said” by Vachel Lindsay which talks about the world getting worse due to war. Here’s an excerpt of Lindsay’s poem:


Excerpt of “What the Sexton Said”

Many poems like these were read more since the many deaths of war drew up a sense of grief which is something the whole world felt at the same time. H.D.’s issues with love and romance were clearly overshadowed and as a result, she became a lesser known poet by this larger global problem of warfare.


Lindsay, Vachel. “What the Sexton Said.” The Forum July 1916: 90. UNZ. Web. 6 Feb. 2014.

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One Response to H.D. : A Lesser Known Poet Overshadowed by a Larger Global Problem, WWI

  1. Prof VZ says:

    H.D. was quite a major poetic figure in her time, and has increased in our estimation since then. I’m not sure what you mean by her banishment–can you offer a source for this? Lindsey was a very popular poet, but not he is almost forgotten. I think your attention to why certain poets rise to prominence is interesting–certainly many were looking for a reflection of the realities and struggles of war in their verse and not the kind of classical fragments of H.D. That said, H.D. was a part of one of the most important experimental movements of her day, and she continued to be a presence throughout her career. We’ll read her later work, which engages WWII most directly than her earlier work addressed WWI.

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