Monday, July 28, 2014

New Book In Print: Charles Sorley's Ghost

To commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War One and the launching of the bloodiest century in human history, I have published a new volume of poems and essays, entitled Charles Sorley’s Ghost. Who was Charles Sorley, you might ask, and why is his ghost so restless? Charles Hamilton Sorley was one of those who have become known as soldier poets, a title attributed usually but not exclusively to British poets who served during World War One. Most of these poets came from upper class families are were commissioned officers. Given the structure of that war, those officers often were in front of their charging men, leading them onward. A disproportionate number lost their lives, among them Charles Sorley. Quickly disillusioned by the nature of this terrible war, Sorley the poet wrote crisp and unsentimental poems that were mature beyond his years. He died early in the war, in 1915, during the Battle of Loos, at age 20. Robert Graves described the battle in which he was killed thus: “It had been another dud show, chiefly notorious for the death of Charles Sorley . . . one of the three important poets killed in the war.” But there were more than three: I found 57 who were killed and more who served and survived. It is easy to forget the horrors of war. Most of us have not experienced them, and hopefully never will. But because we have no direct kinship with War, we tend to ignore, forget, or overlook its rumblings. 187 million human beings have been exterminated in one form or another during the Twentieth Century, and the fighting goes on deep into the 21st. Wilfred Owen said, “All the poet can do is warn. That is why True Poets must be truthful.” With that in mind, and to honor Owen, Sorley and the rest, I offer this volume. It is, I hope, enlightening and thoughtful, and I hope the essays provide information that serves as a jumping off point for each of you. Who cares about people who died so long ago? It is the nature of their deaths that calls to me, and the fact that so many railed against that nature, but surrendered to it anyway. Wilfred Owen was killed on November 4, 1918, seven days before armistice was declared. So, please support me, and pay tribute to them, by purchasing Charles Sorley’s Ghost on Kindle for just $2.99. I hope to have a paperback version available soon, and will post its arrival. This particular project is very important to me, as much for what I learned as for what I wrote, and also for what it all brought me to feel, helping me define my own sense of self on my finite journey across this planet.

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