The period we are talking about mixes three literary movements we are going to describe briefly: Georgian Poetry, Imagism and War poetry.

·Georgian Poetry was the title of a series of anthologies showcasing the work of a school of English poetry that established itself during the early years of the reign of King George V of the United Kingdom.
Edward Marsh was the general editor of the series and the centre of the circle of Georgian poets (which included Rupert Brook). The period of publication was sandwiched between the Victorian era, with its strict classicism, and Modernism, with its strident rejection of pure aestheticism. The common features of the poems in these publications were romanticism, sentimentality and hedonism. The Georgians were born from the general conservative climate that prevailed in the first decade of the twentieth century resulted in patriotic and nationalistic issues often being addressed in the poetry of the period. They shared the desire for reintroducing the individual and depicting a personal response in their poetry. To do this, they commonly evoked the rural landscape rather than looking towards the city for inspiration because their beliefs were firmly entrenched in the traditional Romantic concept that individual subject is inextricably linked with the natural world.
'Georgian', which 'had been applied proudly by Marsh in 1912 to mean "new", "modern", "energetic" had, by 1922, come to connote only "old-fashioned", "outworn", or worse.
The Georgian movement was a reaction against the poetic establishment, quite informal, and not homogeneous. Besides, there are two phases in Georgian Poetry:
-Georgian phase proper: 1912-1915 volumes.
-Neo-Georgian phase.
Phase 1 is the real Georgian Poetry. In 1912, Georgian Poetry was hailed as symbolizing "the new rebellion in English poetry". Poets have in common to challenge the establishment, the current trends in poetry: Denial of individualism.
xxxxxxxxxVirtues of national identity and moral responsibilities.
xxxxxxxxx"Poetic diction", pompous poetry.
By contrast, the aims of Georgian Poetry in Phase 2 was to give a subjective personal response to personal concern to return to Wordsworth and to use a straightforward and casual language.
The Georgian general recommendation was the giving up of complex forms so that more people could read poetry. Georgian Poetry was to be English but not aggressively imperialistic, patheistic rather than atheistic, and as simple as a child's reading book.
The result was that, finally, Georgian Poets were mainly blamed for their traditionalism, for being escapists and for cultivating false simplicity.

 ·In America in 1912, the most common and popular poetry was called genteel because it was very well-behaved. Since they were "genteel", these poems avoided controversial and realistic subject matter like sex or industrialization. Instead, genteel poetry tended to consist of short, inoffensive, traditional verse about inward feelings, written in a deliberately purified, rather vague, "poetic" language.
Around 1912 in London, some British and American poets led by Ezra Pound started a poetic movement called Imagism. These poets reacted against genteel poetry, which they as sentimental, soft-edged, and emotionally dishonest. They also rejected the sentiment and discursiveness typical of much Romantic and Victorian poetry.
Somewhat unusually for the time, the Imagists featured a number of women writers among their major figures.
At the time Imagism emerged, Longfellow and Tennyson were considered the paragons of poetry, and the public valued the sometimes moralising tone of their writings. In contrast, Imagism called for a return to what were seen as more Classical values, such a directness of presentation and economy of language, as well as a willingness to experiment with non-traditional verse forms.
In the preface to the anthology, "Some Imagist Poets" (1916), there is set down a brief list of tenets to which the poets contributing to it mutually agreed:
1. To use the language of common speech, but to employ always the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.
The language of common speech means a diction which carefully excludes inversions, and the cliches of the old poetic jargon. Common speech does not exclude imaginative language nor metaphor but it must be original and natural to the poet himself, not culled from older books of verse.
The exact word means the exact word which conveys the writer's impression to the reader (critics conceive a thing to be so and so and no other way; to the poet, the thing is as it appears in relation to the whole); it is the exact word to describe the effect. In short, the exactness is determined by the content.
2. To create new rhythms -as the expression of new moods- and not to copy old rhythms, which merely echo old moods. We do not insist upon "free-verse" as the only method of writing poetry. We fight for it as for a principle of liberty. We believe that the individuality of a poet may often be better expressed in free-verse than in conventional forms. in poetry a new cadence means a new idea.
This refers to the modern practice of writing largely in the free forms. It is true that modern subjects, modern habits of mind, seem to find more satisfactory expression in vers libre and "polyphonic prose" than in metrical verse. It is also true that "a new cadence means a new idea." Not, as has been stated by hostile critics, that the cadence engenders the idea; quite the contrary, it means that the idea clothes itself naturally in an appropriate novelty of rhythm. The Imagist poets "do not insist upon free-verse as the only method of writing poetry."
3. To allow absolute freedom in the choice of subject. It is not good art to write badly of aeroplanes and automobiles, nor is it necessarily bad art to write well about the past. We believe passionately in the artistic value of modern life, but we wish to point out that there is nothing so uninspiring nor so old-fashioned as an aeroplane of the year 1911.
It means that old, new, actual, literary, anything which excites the creative faculty in the individual poet, is permissible.
4. To present an image. We are not a school of painters, but we believe that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous. It is for this reason that we oppose the cosmic poet, who seems to us to shirk the real difficulties of his art.
"Imagist" refers more to the manner of presentation than to the thing presented. It is a kind of technique rather than a choice of subject. "Imagism" simply means a clear presentation of whatever the author wishes to convey. Imagism is presentation, not representation.
5. To produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.
It must be kept in mind that this does not refer to subject but to the rendering of subject. Ornament may be employed, so long as it follows the structural bases of the poem; but poetical jig-saw work is summarily condemned. That is why, although so much Imagist poetry is metaphorical, similes are sparingly used. Imagists fear the blurred effect of a too constant change of picture in the same poet.
6. Finally, most of us believe that concentration is of the very essence of poetry.
To remain concentrated on the subject, and to know when to stop, are two cardinal rules in the writing of poetry.
Perhaps because Pound began to see imagism as a "stylistic movement, a movement of criticism rather than creation", he soon moved beyond imagism to a new poetic movement he called vorticism. While the rules and "dont's" of imagism were designed to improve poetic writing but not necessarily to produce complete poems, vorticism was designed as a movement whose principles would apply to all the arts and be capable of producing complete works of art. Pound also wanted to add to the image further movement, dynamism, and intensity.

·War poetry is not a school of poetry in itself although it played a tremendous part since it inspired a new birth of inspiration. War had already been a subject for poetry but never with such feelings. However, the term 'war poetry' has strong internal tensions that often go unnoticed: it seems hard to imagine two human activities more unlike each other than experiencing a war and writing a poem. But we have to bear in mind that the best war poets always know that they involve themselves in a monstrous negotiation between artistic plasure and human suffering. War poetry is attracted to pain, and makes artistic capital out of it. A war poem represents the partial victory of unholy joy over shame. The war poem pays homage only to the impulse which produced it; although a war poem may seek to justify itself as a warning, or a bearing witness, or an act of compassion or catharsis or redress, its primary motivation is to celebrate its own achievement.


Thomas Stearns Eliot is not only a fundamental author because os his contribution to the european poetry of the twentieth century, but because of his understanding of the poetic creation, that has become in paradigmatic of an attitude, of a behavior faced with literature. Eliot is one of those writers that have eradicated, at least from his poetics and from his social manners, every grand gesture, every priestly attitude, every emotional hyperbole. Eliot represents uno of the highest examples of the most heterogeneous poetry in english language, that one that wisely combines the monological voice next to the abandonments of the stream of consciousness, together with the most refined lyricism; that one that knows how to administer the tone of philosophical nature and the reflexive essayistic voice with the intra-textual activity; that one that manages to measure out the purely hymnic together with the narrative.
'The Waste Land', one of his most influential works, is commonly regarded as one of the seminal works of modernist literature. In the place of a traditional work, with unified themes and a coherent structure, Eliot produced a poem that seemed to incorporate many unrelated, little-known references to history, religion, mythology, and other disciplines. He even wrote parts of the poem in foreign languages, such as Hindi. In fact the poem was so complex that Eliot felt the need to include extensive notes identifying the sources to which he was alluding, a highly unusual move for a poet, and a move that caused some critics to assert that Eliot was trying to be deliberately obscure or was playing a joke on them. Yet, while the poem is obscure, critics have identified several sources that inspired its creation and which have helped determine its meaning. Many see the poem as a reflection of Eliot’s disillusionment with the moral decay of post–World War I Europe. In the work, this sense of disillusionment manifests itself symbolically through a type of Holy Grail legend. Eliot cited two books from which he drew to create the poem’s symbolism: Jessie L. Weston’s 'From Ritual to Romance' (1920) and Sir James G. Frazer’s 'The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion' (1890). The 1922 version of 'The Waste Land' was also significantly influenced by Eliot’s first wife Vivien and by his friend Ezra Pound, who helped Eliot edit the original 800-line draft down to the published 433 lines. The title of the poem refers to a myth from 'From Ritual to Romance', in which Weston describes a kingdom where the genitals of the king, known as the Fisher King, have been wounded in some way. This injury, which affects the king’s fertility, also mythically affects the kingdom itself. With its vital, regenerative power gone, the kingdom has dried up and turned into a waste land. In order for the land to be restored, a hero must complete several tasks, or trials. This ancient myth was the basis for various other quest stories from many cultures, including the Christian quest for the Holy Grail. Eliot says he drew heavily on this myth for his poem, and critics have noted that many of the poem’s references refer to this idea.

Ezra Pound, a major figure in the early modernist movement in poetry, developer of Imagism and later Vorticism was a writer that insisted on making a distinction between his own feelings and ideas and those presented in the poems: "I catch the character I happen to be interested in at the moment he interests me, usually a moment of song, self-analysis, or sudden understanding or revelation. I paint my man as I conceive him," explaining that "the sort of thing I do" is "the short so-called dramatic lyric." Pound continued to explore the possibilities of the dramatic lyric in his work, later expanding the technique into the character studies of 'Homage to Sextus Propertius' and 'Selwyn Mauberley' and of the countless figures who people the 'Cantos'.
In 1915, Ezra Pound published a slim volume of poems which he called 'Cathay' and which contained, according to its title page, “translations by Ezra Pound for the most part from the Chinese of Rihaku.” Yet in writing the poems contained in 'Cathay', Pound set out to do much more than transcribe Chinese poems word-for-word or line-for-line into English. He set out to redefine poetic translation itself, replacing long-held ideals like “accuracy” and “faithfulness” with a conviction that one could use old—even ancient—texts to make English poetry look and sound quite new.
Critics have spilled a good deal of ink identifying the numerous inaccuracies of 'Cathay'’s translations, many of which stem from Pound’s almost complete dependence on the notes of Ernest Fenollosa, an American scholar who studied the Chinese poems while living in Japan. (Pound was not himself proficient in Chinese.) Fenollosa’s notes on the poems are terse, occasionally cryptic, and easy to misinterpret. For instance, Pound’s conflation of two distinct Chinese poems into one English piece, “The River Song,” most likely arose from a misreading of Fenollosa’s notebooks. Yet, even when Fenollosa’s notes on a poem’s content are unmistakably clear, Pound shows a remarkable willingness to alter that content in order to craft, in his judgment, a better English poem. Thus Pound often changes details of images or omits pieces of the text altogether. Such omissions often result from Pound’s decision to eliminate instances of complex literary allusion which, though characteristic of Chinese poetry, would probably confuse English readers not versed in the Chinese poetic tradition.
Hugh Kenner is the most prominent of a number of scholars who argue that readers who criticize Pound for 'Cathay'’s variations from its source texts miss the point of Pound’s effort, which was to produce innovative English poems using the ancient Chinese texts as an inspirational springboard, not a constraining template. The “real achievement” of 'Cathay', according to Kenner, lay not on the frontier of comparative poetics, but securely within the effort…to rethink the nature of an English poem. It consisted in maximizing three criteria at once, criteria hitherto developed separately: the vers-libre principle, that the single line is the unit of composition; the Imagist principle, that a poem may build its effects out of things it sets before the mind’s eye by naming them; and the lyrical principle, that words or names, being ordered in time, are bound together and recalled into each other’s presence by recurrent sounds. These things had been done before but not simultaneously. Yet, even as Pound crafted his poems at the level of individual sounds, images, and lines, he also selected the contents of 'Cathay' in a way that highlights the poems’ broad thematic linkages, beyond their authorial, geographical, and temporal affinities. Several of these thematic concerns—the place of the exile, for instance, as dramatized in “Exile’s Letter,” and the encounter of the poetic sensibility with war, as in “Song of the Bowmen of Shu”—occur elsewhere in Pound’s work, often in other poems based on historical texts or personages. The recurrence of these themes suggests not only Pound’s abiding interest in them, but also his belief that certain elements of human experience persist across boundaries of time, place, and language—and that it is the task of translation to reveal these enduring truths. Thus poems in 'Cathay' thematically echo Pound’s earlier poems based on the lives and legends of the wandering, amorous troubadours, as well as later poems like 'Homage to Sextus Propertius' (itself assailed as an erroneous translation), which ruminates on love, art, politics, and war. The vivid, often gory realism of combatant-poets such as Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen frequently defines the limits of what is considered “First World War poetry,” but to forget that 'Cathay' appeared while the war was raging would be to neglect a crucial cultural context of the book’s publication. Kenner makes a spirited argument that 'Cathay' should be read as a book of war poetry—that the book’s true theme, however obliquely addressed, is war as a transhistorical, universal phenomenon: “that all this has happened before and continually happens”.
Regardless of the success of his overall argument that 'Cathay' is a book of war poetry, Kenner does provide a very affecting piece of evidence that at least one of Pound’s contemporaries read it as such: a letter written by Pound’s friend, the cubist sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, who would die in the trenches. “I keep the book in my pocket,” he wrote of 'Cathay'. “Indeed, I use [the poems] to put courage in my fellows. I speak now of the ‘Bowmen’ and the ‘North Gate’ [i.e. ‘Lament of the Frontier Guard’] which are so appropriate to our case”.
Pound’s commitment to revealing the kinship of speakers across great distances of time and space (not to mention language) is perhaps most dramatically evinced by his decision to insert his translation of the Anglo-Saxon poem “The Seafarer” into 'Cathay'. Though it at first seems out of place in a book otherwise composed of translations from the Chinese, “The Seafarer” actually makes a striking complement to the other poems. Like so many of Pound’s protagonists, the speaker of “The Seafarer” is an exile and a wanderer, and he recalls a life filled with “bitter breast-cares”—cares endured by the Bowmen of Shu and the scribe of “Exile’s Letter,” as well as by those left behind by warriors and travelers, like “The River Merchant’s Wife.” Pound also knew that the Chinese poets he was translating and the anonymous author of “The Seafarer” wrote in roughly the same historical period, a fact that simultaneously emphasizes and downplays the geographical and cultural distance between Anglo-Saxon England and ancient China. Pound later wrote that he considered “Exile’s Letter” and “The Seafarer,” which are so thematically similar, the two greatest poems of the eighth century, and that the latter “shows the West on a par with the Orient”.
Furthermore, “The Seafarer” presented Pound with a distinct opportunity to innovate in the realm of poetic technique. In a phonological tour de force, Pound adapts the Old English pattern of alliterative lines of verse in order to make ordinary, contemporary language suddenly seem unfamiliar.
Ezra Pound’s 1920 poem 'Hugh Selwyn Mauberley' is a landmark in the career of the poet, where he uses two alter egos to discuss the first twelve years of his career, a period during which aesthetic and literary concerns fully engaged Pound’s attention. The poem reconstructs literary London of the Edwardian period, recreating the dominant feeling about what literature should be and also describing Pound’s own rebellious aesthetic beliefs. The poem also takes us to the catastrophe of the early twentieth century, World War I, and bluntly illustrates its effects on the literary world. The poem then proceeds to an “envoi,” or a send-off, and then to five poems told through the eyes of a second alter ego. In the first section of the poem, Pound portrays himself as “E. P.,” a typical turn-of-the-century aesthete, and then in the second he becomes “Mauberley,” an aesthete of a different kind. Both E. P. and Mauberley are facets of Pound’s own character that, in a sense, the poem is meant to exorcise. After composing this poem, Pound left London for Paris and, soon after, for Italy, where his view of his role as a poet changed dramatically. No longer would his work be primarily concerned with aesthetics; after 1920, he started to concentrate on writing 'The Cantos' and on studying politics and economics. “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” is not just Pound’s farewell to London; it is Pound’s definitive good-bye to his earlier selves.

The Great War (1914-1918) - Episode 1: Explosion

·Germany: militaristic and volatile.
·Kaiser Wilhelm II: embodiment of Germanic tensions and figure head of German imperial ambitions.
·Otto von Bismarck.
·Class struggle.
·Suffragettes. Emily Wilding Davison. Sylvia Pankhurst.
·Growing of Socialism. Jean Jaurès.
·Tsar Nicholas II.
·Ludwig Meidner.
·The Black Hand. 28th June, 1914. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.
·Set stage: Austria-Hungary vs Serbia. Austria vs Russia. Russia vs Germany. Germany vs France.
·29th July, 1914: Austria attacks Serbia. – Russian mobilization-German mobilization.
·4th August, 1914: Germany invades France through Belgium – mobilization of Britain (WWI was born).
·Thought of citizens: just and defensive war. Patriotism. Suffragettes support war.

This first episode is absolutely essential to understand the social mentality and the policy in Europe to know how leaders make Europe go into a war of such dimension. The first descriptions of life in the trenches give us the tone of the BBC series, which is perfectly summarized in that line taken from Wilfred Owen's "Preface" to his poems: "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity."
The poem that opens the Anthology of World War Poetry is perfectly chosen to warn us that war is to come. 'On the idle hill of summer' by A. E. Housman, the classical scholar and lyrical poet who appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, gives us a rural setting that is menaced by drums, bugles and fifes. These instruments are associated with military music, which contrasts with the flow of streams that has taken the I voice in the poem into sleep. We can also see the first vision of war, a patriotic happy one, as we can read: 'Gay the files of scarlet follow'. However, as what we are talking about is war, we should underline the two realistic visions in the poem: 'Soldiers marching, all to die', and 'None that go return again'.

The Great War (1914-1918) - Episode 2: Stalemate

·The Schlieffen Plan ("Paris for lunch, dinner in St. Petersburg").
·Belgium – Big Bertha and innocent victims.
·Representations of the Germans. ·British volunteer Army – Lord Kitchener.
·The "pals" movement.
·Songs for a War.
·Alsace and Lorrain.
·Mons – retreat.
·The battle of the Marne.
·The trenches (a new kind of war is born).
·John Lucy's brother – the return of the Dead.
·The Russian Army – NCOs (Non-commissioned officers).
·The battle of Tannenberg.
·Life in the trenches – the sky.
·Christmas 1914.

We can see in this episode the first reactions of people towards the war, the way in which propaganda affected people’s opinion and how the beginning of war starts to shape and change that view.
This episode is also the graphic representation of a lot of poems of the second section of the Anthology, that begins with 'Channel Firing' by Thomas Hardy (a poem that mixes most of Hardy's elements: elements of the previous Romantic and Enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural), a poem that expresses the feeling of gloomy foreboding that some, at least, felt in the months before the First World war; Hardy injects a recollection of what war was to those who fought and died in bygone years under the thunder of other guns, and how much worse it might be this time, and he provokes that feeling by evoking the broken quiet of a country churchyard on a dark night, but after saying the nations are 'striving strong to make/Red war yet redder' he condemns the threatening fire of the gunnery practice just offshore going so far as to put words in God's mouth saying that Hell awaits the warriors for their threatening.
We continue reading biblical references in Geoffrey Faber's 'The Eve of War', a poem that shows a sense of impending doom and uncertainty because of the feeling that war is to come.
And the sensation explodes with Rosenberg’s 'On receiving the First News of the War', a reaction to the outbreak of the First World War, conveying the poet’s sense of anxious foreboding of the horrors ahead through a series of symbols of life, death and rebirth.
'The Marionettes' by Walter de la Mare, has a satiric power drawn from Hardy and shows the first discordant voice with the majority sensation that going to war was something related to honour and patriotism.
But with the poem 'August, 1914' by John Masefield we come into war. This is a poem were the tragedy had begun to drag out its weary length and to become a commonplace stoically accepted even by sensitive minds. We have to point out that this poem fuses Masefield's characteristic qualities: his love of the English soil and its traditions, his passionate humanity, and his keen sense of tragedy resolved by spiritual vision.
And following that love to the English soil (that he will develop in 'The soldier'), we can read '1914: Peace' by Rupert Brooke, a sonnet that is a clear testimony -as we can see in the episode- of how happily war is received by people, a reaction that comes from the Victorian Era's ideology of the glory that is to be acquired through battle. It also happens in 'Happy is England Now' by John Freeman, another Georgian poet that gives us in his poem a significant evidence of patriotism and propaganda which were common in the early war poems before the realities of the brutal war were known about. And we can see one of the other sides of this encouraging to join the army in 'For All We Have and Are' by Ruyard Kipling, where the I voice in the poem encourages people to serve the country during those times of great war and violence, saying that all of them have to be brave and fight with their souls.
In 'This is no case of petty Right or Wrong' we can see a little difference in relation to other poems of this section because if it is true that the poem is truly patriotic, it is also true that Thomas disdains the sort of populist hate of Germans (as we cann see in the episode, in the one which is considered to be the first substantial propaganda campaign) and love of England that are made “to please newspapers”, arguing for a quieter form of patriotism which deals with the love for the earth in which he was born. As it happens in 'To Germany' by Charles Hamilton Sorley, where the poet contradicts the idea of genetic German evilness.

After two poems that make use of irony as 'The Poets are Waiting' by Harold Monro and the epigram 'The Dilemma' by J. C. Squire, we can see once again how poets encouraged people to enlist; this time, we see poems as 'The Trumpet' by the Georgian poet Edward Thomas, who using the memory of old wars encourages people to revive old glorious moments, or 'The Call' by Jessie Pope, a poem used as a means of coerceing the "laddies" into war through cowardice and bravery that would be responded by Wilfred Owen.

Then we come to 'Recruiting', by E. A. Mackintosh, a poem that gets darker and darker and is focused on the propaganda and how everyone seems to make the war seem fine, whilst the author sees behind the lies. It also uses guilt very well, showing how such propaganda was created effectively to make men feel like they were "only" going into a war. This last idea repeated in 'Youth in Arms I' by Harold Monro, where we can read 'Well, you're going to the wars-/That is all you need to know'.
But we can find a feeling diametrically opposed to that one in the soldiers' song 'I don't want to be a soldier': 'I don't want to be a soldier,/I don't want to go to war./I'd rather stay at home,/Around the streets to roam,/And live on the earnings of a well-paid whore./I don't want a bayonet up my arsehole,/i don't want my bollocks shot away./I'd rather stay in England,/In merry, merry England,/And fuck my bleeding life away.' that seems a quite more realistic point of view about war.
After that, we find the first reference to death. Bearing in mind the Battle of the Marne (that we can see in the episode), we can see in 'The Conscript' by Wilfrid Gibson three relevant points: one referred to the crucifixion, one referred to conscripts (The army in those days was made up of a number of volunteer (career) soldiers and many men who were called upon by the government and forced to serve in the armed forces. This process was known as conscription and the men were conscripts!), and another one referred to the medical (in the poem, Gibson is describes the medical that those men would go through to ensure they were fit enough to serve: he is saying that it doesn't matter who the man is or what is condition is, some doctors would even declare -he writes in a funny and insolent way- Jesus Christ fit to be a soldier.).
And then we come to face the first poem about war showing a feminine perspective, 'Now that you too must shortly go the way' by Eleanor Farjeon. This is a poem that shows a kind of fatalism in the use of the verb must, as if it were inevitable to go to war, but it uses another perspective to the male one by confronting the public and the private, Farjeon shows war from the women's perspective: saying goodbye to their men, never knowing if they would see each other again, drinking in the way they look, ingesting every thing about them to file away and open each time they have dark, desolate moments. Then it is disturbing to find, next to Farjeon, a poem such as 'The Kiss' by Siegfried Sassoon, a poem where Sassoon calls brother a bullet and sister the bayonet; maybe an ironical poem that shows us the crazyness of war: every soldier has a gun and is 'useless' without it.
A line continued in a more delicate way in 'Arms and the Boy' by Wilfred Owen, although the poetic height is superior to the previous poem because of the two possible readings of the poem: a literal one, pointing that children are trained with guns, and a metaphorical one, that should lead us to think that soldiers are like children.
Immediately after we find two ways of expressing the vision of soldiers going to war. The first one in 'All the hills and vales along' by Charles Hamilton Sorley, who criticises the praising made to death in some soldiers' songs, and a soldiers' song called 'We are Fred Karno's army'.
Then we find a very interesting selection of poems that show the beginning of war from different points of view. As we can see in the episode, in 1914 it begins life in the trenches, and its poetic description, with the concept of the Old Men, and the error of war are described in 'Song of the Dark Ages' by Francis Brett Young. That life on the trenches is encouraged, as care for companions, in 'Sonnets 1917: Servitude' by Ivor Gurney (this time, in a propagandistic way). However, the perspective used in 'In Barracks' by Siegfried Sassoon is completely different, because monotony is what rules life in the trenches and there is no ironic use in the poem ('Up comes the dark; down goes the sun.'). But life and war are mixed in war and that's the point in 'The Last Post' by Robert Graves, a poem about the funeral of a soldier who has dead in France and the fears soldiers going to France begin to have. Because as we have seen, France is the centre of WWI, and the hard weather conditions are the setting to describe the life of soldiers in 'In Training' by Edward Shanks. But Harold Monro gives us the same theme in a poem inflected with pastoral images and sentiments in 'Youth in Arms II: Soldier', a poem that ends consigning the corpse of the soldier to a second birth in natural renewal.

After that we have a series of poems that deal with soldiers marching to the front. The first one of them is 'Men Who March Away' by Thomas Hardy, a poem where we see two perspectives: the first is that of the onlookers, who watch the marching men; the second, that of the soldiers themselves. Then we can read 'Marching Men' by Marjorie Pickthall, where the religious comparison of the soldiers and the sorrows of Mary, the mother of Christ, reminds us of those who watched as their sons marched off to fight the Great War. The next one is 'The Send-Off' by Wilfred Owen, where the poet uses a quiet, melancholic, almost resigned tone to instil in the reader a sense of hopelessness, and where the lack of brashness and volume (with the exception of the alliterative line “beatings of great bells”) could be likened to the sombre serenity of a battlefield after action has ceased, and the soldiers have departed. And that one is followed by 'Fragment' by Rupert Brooke, a poem that from the beginning it shows a menacing atmosphere.

The Great War (1914-1918) - Episode 3: Total War

·1915, the year the Great War becomes "total war".
·Bombing of civilians – first time there is no such a thing as a 'non-combatant' – WWI as the first 'modern' war.
·April 1915 – Gallipoli – 800.000 soldiers outnumbered the Turks.
·Mustafa Kemal and the strategic position of Turkey.
·Vera Brittain – the nurses of WWI and the presence of women at the Front.
·Involvement of the colonies – African soldiers in the Western Front / Indian troops in the Eastern Front.
·Munition factory workers – the girls with yellow hands.
·Mustard gas – Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum est'.
·Passenger ships as targets – the Lusitania.
·Cinema as propaganda tool against Germany – The Little American and American neutrality.
·The Armenian genocide and the refugee camps.

This episode deepens into all the horrors of war: we see the first systematic bombing of civilians from the sky, the involvement of the colonies into the war, the increasing business of shell making, faith turning into another arm to fight, poison gas being used in the front, civilian passengers becoming potential targets at sea, children being trained as potential/real soldiers, and the shame of the 20th century first genocide. Being all these scandals a consequence of the frenetic brutalization of a european war that has become a total war.

However, the poems in the anthology refer to life of English soldiers in trenches. We see many of them: 'First Time In' by Ivor Gurney (clearly expressed in the title of the poem the going up to the front for the first time), 'Break of Day in the Trenches' by Isaac Rosenberg (a short free-verse poem in which time juxtaposes with setting to create a new poetic perception of life and death capturing the bemusement of an ordinary infantryman confronting the harshness of existence in the trenches during World War I), the theme of inevitability -although in a humorous tone- of the soldiers' song 'Bombed last night', Wilfrid Gibson's 'Breakfast' (a poem showing the ever-presence of death playing with the idea that survival in the war was a game of chance), Richard Aldington's 'In the Trenches' (a poem that mixes life in the front with classical references), Edgell Rickword's 'Winter Warfare' (an extended metaphor concerning the effects of the bitter winter on the men in the trenches), 'Futility' and 'Exposure' by Wilfred Owen (two poems about death in the front), the nonsense mixed with the sense of inevitability of 'We're here because we're here', 'Poem Abbreviated from the Conversation of Mr. T. E. H.' by Ezra Pound (using images to describe states of the mind in the front and the idea of resignation), or the Romantic references in poems by Edmund Blunden or Edgell Rickword.
After that, we still read poems about soldiers in the front, but this time they are related to the bonds of friendship and love that were formed between serving men of all ranks, as we can see in Siegfried Sassoon's 'Banishment', G. A. Studdert Kennedy's 'Woodbine Willie', Wilfred Owen's 'Apologia pro Poemate Meo', Herbert Read's 'My company', 'Nameless Men' by Edward Shillito, or 'Greater Love' by Wilfred Owen.

However, I've missed some poems about the contribution of black soldiers to war, or about the important role played by English women in the business of war.

The Great War (1914-1918) - Episode 4: Slaughter

·The trenches - a world impossible to describe.
·Otto Dix: lice, rats, fleas, barbed wire, corpses. Representations of war in painting and poems.
·Submarine warfare and air raid on Allied cities.
·Eric von Falkenhayn, Chief of the German General Staff.
·1916: The Year of the Battles (Verdun, Jutland, Somme).
·Verdun – the twelth forths. Verdun as the Battle of France.
·The War of Attrition.
·Lord Kitcheneer's recruting campaign.
·Helen Thomas. Her diaries.
·The Battle of the Somme. 1st of July 1916. Sir Douglas Haig.
·The Battle of the Somme. The first war documentary.
·The Battle of the Somme. July-November 1916: front line.
·Siegfred Sassoon.
·Albert – The statue of the Virgin.
·The Trenches. The Rotation system.
·Vimy Ridge – Learning from the Somme.
·Passchendaele. Mud as the key element in representations of war and specifically WWI.
·Paul Nash. Sunset and Sunrise. The view from the trenches.

This episode is dedicated to the period called 'war of attrition', that moment when the war turned into a total slaughter between sides trying to bleed the enemy to death, instead of reaching a particular objective.

In the anthology, in the chapter related to this episode, we first see 'Before Action' by W. N. Hodgson, a poem whose form is that of a prayer or hymn; it is like the old monastic Vespers, the evening prayer said at sunset, but the form and metre is that of a hymn -written two days before the Battle of the Somme in which its writer became a casualty, it could also be seen as prophetic, as his own memorial-. Then we find 'Into Battle' by Julian Grenfell, that presents an introduction with an optimistic fervor illustrated by the quotation “Life is Color and Warmth and Light” that contrasts with the bleak statement “And he is dead who will not fight”; this is a poem where the speaker speculates of the happenings after the soldier’s demise and provides the reader with a fairly optimistic image including metaphors such as accompanying the Dog-Star constellation, speaking with the wind and listening to the owl’s call at night; but the tone in the poem presents a gentler version of death which can be perceived to be almost welcome. The next poem is 'Lights out' by Edward Thomas, where the author presents us the two sides of the same coin theme: sleep as rest, and sleep as death. And then we find 'I have a rendezvous with Death' by Alan Seeger, where we begin to see that soldiers know that being in the Front means that death is imminent; something which is deepened in 'Two Sonnets' by Charles Hamilton Sorley.
Suddenly, we see 'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke, that seems a quite Manichean pro-patriotic poem, written as if the author were not disillusioned by the horrors of the war. The response to this poem was written by May Herschel-Clark: 'The Mother Written after reading Rupert Brooke's sonnet, 'The Soldier'', where we can see that the mournful elegiac tone of the poem is typical of the verse written to memorialize the sorrows of grieving mothers, but the conventions of the poetic form required a grateful acknowledgment of the son’s untimely death, received and offered up by the mother on the altars of a blind nationalism.
But the mood changes in 'I tracked a dead man down a trench' by W. S. S. Lyon, where the reader can experience what life in the trenches was like during that moment of the war. A fearful experience, as we can see in 'Ballad of the Three Spectres' by Ivor Gurney, where following a traditional ballad or song structure we are lead to confront the typical soldier’s anxiety about his unseen future and his fear of death. And following the series of poems about death, we can read 'The Question' by Wilfrid Gibson, a poem that is quite modern in its aesthetical proposal although it uses Georgian elements. Or 'The Soldier Addresses His Body' by Edgell Rickword, another poem that through its studied toughness, shows a great modernity and begins to show the feeling among soldiers that peace is the most important thing; as it happens in 'The Day's March' by Robert Nichols.
We see then the military view of life in 'Eve of Assault: Infantry Going Down to Trenches' by Robert Nichols, where soldiers achieve by means of military procedures a cleansing from "shame"; as in 'Headquarters' by Gilbert Frankau.

And then we find one of the most pessimistic poems in the section, the final lines of D. H. Lawrence's 'Bombardment' are the worst description of what we can call now everyday but then was hell each time the sun arose. But it gives the impression that life has changed forever in some way; as when we see H. Smalley Sarson's 'The Shell' and we read: "The brains of science, the money of fools/Had fashioned an iron slave/Destined to kill".

But then we move to the Front again and we could imagine what the Battle of the Somme could be by reading Richard Aldington's 'Bombardment', as by reading Ivor Gurney's 'On Somme' and seeing how a rising hysteria gets into the soldiers' feeling. And the sensation of dying as a group, as we can read in 'Before the Charge' by Patrick MacGill. Or the real sense of what it must have been like on the Western Front we can read in 'It's a Queer Time' by Robert Graves, in 'The Face' by Frederic Manning, or in 'Gethsemane' by Rudyard Kipling. And at that moment we find one of those poems that revolutionize the way of writing poems in the 20th century: 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' by Wilfred Owen; although its scheme and most of its literary figures are quite predictable, its comparisons and above all the way of comparing soldiers to cattle are absolutely innovative.

After that, poems like W. J. Turner's 'The Navigators', Wilfred Owen's 'Spring Offensive' or Harold Monro's 'Youth in Arms III: Retreat' give us the feeling of trench warfare, where actions that yields both long famous glories and immemorial shames happen and becomes a place where death becomes absurd and life absurder.

Then we find one of the best poems of the 20th century: 'Dulce et Decorum est' by Wilfred Owen, where the poet uses a variety of powerful poetic devices in order to depict death in war as a brutal and horrifying experience and alliteration is used throughout the whole poem to draw the attention of the reader creating stark and confronting images within the reader's mind. Written as a response to Jessie Pope's 'The Call', the first line in the poem is probably one of the first lines in English Poetry, the striking simile of troops on a march is a powerful picture of the discomfort and lack of dignity experienced by the soldiers. The shocking description is marked with a tone of horror deepened with the triple description of the soldier's plight that transites from less to more specific. The sense of panic is made clear and the feeling of disorder is absolutely striking. Besides, the poem shows not only physical harm, but the psychological harm suffered through the event that has been told.

After that, we find two poetic visions of women on war. The first one is 'Field Ambulance in Retreat' by May Sinclair, that recounts the sight of an ox cart bringing out a new harvest of wounded bodies, and 'A Memory' by Margaret Sackville, where the poet is determined to testify or bear witness to the tru effects of war and it is important to remark how she mentions the way women are not spared by war.

The following poems show death and life in trenches in its more terrifying side; poems as Isaac Rosenberg's 'Dead Man's Dump' (with its religious allusions), Harold Monro's 'Youth in Arms IV: Carrion', F. W. Harvey's 'Prisoners', or Robert Graves's 'A Dead Boche' (taking the idea of war being glorious and putting it in terms of simple murder); Richard Aldington's 'Soliloquy II' (and his Romantic vision of death), Ivor Gurney's 'Butchers and Tombs', Herbert Asquith's 'The Volunteer', Rupert Brooke's '1914: The Dead', and John McCrae's 'In Flanders Fields' (with his pro-patriotic visions of war); the important poems 'When you see millions of the mouthless dead' by Charles Hamilton Sorley (and its image of the dead transformed into ghosts) and 'Strange Meeting' by Wilfred Owen (with its skillfully presentation of reality in warfare and the painful truths that accompany war by using revision as a tool to both clarify his ideas and re-evaluate one of the central figures in the poem); this last poem, furthermore, is a curious contrast between the global vision of encounter between enemies the poem gives us and the real meeting between English and German happened in Christmas 1914.

The Great War (1914-1918) - Episode 5: Mutiny

·Siegfried Sassoon – recovering from bullet wound in England in 1917 questions aim of war.
·1916: Jutland, Verdun, Somme. Lord Kitchner dies in the North Sea after mine explosion.
·1917 – soldiers ask why are they fighting for.
·Shell shock.
·Craiglockhart. The "talking cure". Freud's psychoterapy.
·Sassoon's brother dies in Gallipoli. Robert Graves.
·Sassoon wounded – April 1917.
·July 31st, 1917 – Sassoon's letter to his CO published in The Times.
·August 23rd, 1917 – Sassoon sent to Craiglockhart. Sassoon and Owen meet.
·Mutiny in the French army. Louis Barthas. Robert Nivelle.
·April 16th, Chemin des Dames, near Soissons.
·Mutiny on the Western Front. Nivelle replaced by Philippe Pétain.
·Russia and the Eastern Front.
·Shortages of bread in Russia.
·Revolution. 24th February 1917. Abdication of the Tsar.
·The Women's Battalion.
·Lenin. The October Revolution. December 1917: Russian's Armistice with the Central Powers.
·Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, March 1918.

First of all, the poems and the episode are related to the dichotomy of wanting to go back home and the doubts the soldiers had about how would be England like when they were there again, as we can see in the soldiers' song 'I want to go home' and F. W. Harvey's 'If We Return (Rondeau)', this one showing the fact that being in a war makes somebody different from who he was.

Then we move on to the poliedric visions about war: the persistence of mud as a characteristic of being in the trenches (as in Ivor Gurney's 'Blighty'), the still pro-patriotic vision of war from a false-feminist view (as in 'War Girls' by Jessie Pope), questions about the futility of war (as in Geoffrey Faber's 'Home Service': "It isn't only actual war that's hell,/I'll say. It's spending youth and hope alone/Among pretences that have ceased to deceive"), the touch of doubt that accompanies the survivor's question and his lack of security and comfort in 'The Survivor Comes Home' by Robert Graves, the question of the Blighty in Siegfried Sassoon's 'Sick Leave' (where Sassoonn pictures the noiseless dead who seek him out reproaching him for not being back at the front with his Battalion), the remorses of those at home as in Richard Aldington's 'Reserve', the feminine point of view of how official letters to relatives of soldiers fighting at the front were received in Robert Frost's 'Not to Keep', the change in soldiers' minds asking themselves if war is dishonourable as in Siegfried Sassoon's 'Blighters', the religious and domestic vision of war in 'The Admonition: To Betsey' by Helen Parry Eden, the experience of war so close to home in 'Zeppelins' by Nancy Cunard, the domestic and private life in nancy Cunard's 'Education' and Jessie Pope's 'Socks' confronted to war, or the revolution that watching war in cinemas ment to civilians so brilliantly expressed in 'A War Film' by Theresa Hooley or in 'The War Films' by Sir Henry Newbolt, the father who has drowned himself on learning of the death of his soldier son in 'Epitaphs: A Son' and 'I looked up from my writing' by Thomas Hardy, the fight against pain even at an absurd point as in 'Picnic' by Rose Macaulay, the satirical contrast of the moral improvement to British soldiers promised by a Bishop with the physical damage and moral degradation that they actually experience in 'They' by Siegfried Sassoon, the Blighty wounds in 'Portrait of a Coward' by Ivor Gurney, the effects of war in teenagers and how wounded soldiers helped each others in 'In A Soldiers' Hospital I: Pluck' and 'In A Soldiers' Hospital II: Gramophone Tunes' by Eva Dobell, or the ironical response to a pro-patriotic picture published in London that showed three wounded soldiers smiling in 'Smile Smile Smile' by Wilfred Owen.

The last poems of the section are the most shocking from the vital and the poetic points of view. Margaret Postgate Cole final line in 'The Veteran' show how was actually war fought: by young people that will end up with a life broken by war. The completely brilliant comparison of the black, white, brown and green spines of his books to his once straight-backed comrades marching off to their deaths (Blighty theme again) in 'Repression of War Experience' by Siegfried Sassoon. The particular obsessions of soldiers in the front, as in 'A Child's Nightmare' by Robert Graves. The incomparable description of soldiers who have suffered mental disorders because of war in Wilfred Owen's 'Mental Cases' (that we can see in the episode). And how a text can personify war and death at the same time, as 'The Death-Bed' by Siegfried Sassoon'.

However, I've missed any poem in relation to The October Revolution, an event that wouldn't have happened without WWI.

The Great War (1914-1918) - Episode 6: Collapse

·Princess Evelyn Blücher.
·Germany in 1918: strikes, riots, civil unrest in Berlin.
·Kaiser Wilhelm II's lifestyle / Power in the hands of generals: Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff.
·Unrestricted submarine warfare.
·US – unprecedent economic boom.
·The Zimmermann telegram.
·Wilson: 'The World must be made safe for democracy'.
·Success of enlisting campaign / 'Negro' batallions / Importance in the achievement of civil rights for black Americans.
·Caruso sings 'Over there'. Future President Harry Truman calls it 'The Great Adventure'. General John Pershing – Americans would fight as an American Army, not as units under French or British command.
·Ghosts of French men, Crucifixes on the Western Front.
·Resentment against the Kaiser in Berlin.
·March 1918 in Germany.
·Tanks. August 1918.
·American battle – Meuse-Argonne.
·October 1918: mutiny in the German Navy.
·Armistice – 11 November 1918.

The first poem of the last part of the anthology is marvelously connected with the end of this chapter, it is grateful to read to read the soldiers' song 'When this bloody war is over' knowing that the end of the chapter is the Armistice of 11th November 1918.

As we go into the poems of this last part of the anthology we see a summary of what war has been and what victory will mean. As we can see in Edmund Blunden's 'Preparations for Victory' the concepts of death and victory are entwined, the poet demonstrates the extreme polarization of the war, with victory as the ultimate goal and death as the ultimate form of losing; and through this dichotomy Blunden portrays the great irony of the war: the inextricable link between victory and death actually forms an identity. A theme deepened tangentially in Osbert Sitwell's 'Peace Celebration', in May Wedderburn Cannan's 'Paris, November 11, 1918', in Ivor Gurney's 'It Is Near Toussaints' (where a day becomes the day of reunion between the war survivors and the war dead), in Laurence Binyon's 'For the Fallen' (in which Binyon says that "they" are at least immortal), in F. W. Harvey's 'Out of the Mouths of Babes', in Charlotte Mew's 'The Cenotaph' (where she feels unredeemed by the deaths of those young men), in St John Adcock's 'The Silence' (where we see the distinction between public and private silence), in Robert Graves' 'Recalling War', in Edward Shanks' 'Armistice Day, 1921' (in which Shanks gives voice to the war dead), in J. C. Squire's 'A Generation (1917)', in Siegfried Sassoon's 'Memorial Tablet' (giving us the poem an insight into what the war is about: a gruesome pointless death), in A. E. Housman's 'Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries' (a poem in praise of the 'Old Contemptibles'), or in Ezra Pound's 'Hugh Selwyn Mauberley: V' (where Pound states that civilization's defense was not worth all of those deaths).

As it can be seen in the episode, the last months of the war were a matter of resiliance and it is related to the way Siegfried Sassoon writes 'Everyone Sang', as a kind of song of praise for soldiers' resiliance. Besides, we can read that kind of friendship that arises when people have faced death together, as in Robert Graves' 'Two Fusiliers'.

We can still see that although soldiers known they've been lied by the rulers, some of them think God is the answer for everything, as a way of saying that God works on mysterious ways, as we can read in 'Report on Experience' by Edmund Blunden. Or the step beyond given in G. A. Studdert Kennedy's 'Dead and Buried' relating soldiers to Jesus Christ. Although this could be confronted to poems as Wilfred Owen's 'Disabled' (where the poet depicts the disassociation and detachment from self and society felt by a soldier and his losses have made his body alien) or Ivor Gurney's 'Strange Hells'.

But what is wonderful is to see that there were poems against one of those principles that govern society in 20th century: the defence of one's country; but attacking it because of the falseness of rulers or of those who take advantage of war. We can see it in the acerbic attack on the political class of G. K. Chesterton's 'Elegy in a Country Churchyard', and in Rudyard Kipling's 'Epitaphs: Common Form' (one of the greatest laments of the youth who went out to fight wars because of the actions and exhortations of the older).

And there is a great theme pointed out in this section: the denunciations after the war. The way in which the dead are remembered, in Siegfried Sassoon's 'On Passing the New Menin Gate' and in Philip Johnstone's 'High Wood'; the feminine point of view of the discomfort, partly physical and partly mental, around the movement of middle-class women into a professional space, or in Vera Brittain's 'The Superfluous Woman'.

The Great War (1914-1918) - Episode 7: Legacy

·Transformations in Germany, Russia and the Austrian Empire.
·Viena as an example of hunger and infant mortality.
·President Wilson joining the old world game of dictating boundaries to the defeated nations.
·Germany declared guilty; costs of the war – a debt that could never be repaired.
·Peace Treaty.
·Adolf Hitler determined to take revenge whatever the cost.
·Film showing the anger of soldiers dead in the war. Dead judging the living.
·The men with broken faces.
·Otto Dix. Dadaism. Art is dead.
·Creation of national cemeteries for the dead of The Great War.
·The Cenotaph.
·Arthur Conan Doyle and Spiritualism.
·Have you forgotten yet? Siegfried Sassoon.

The last poem of the anthology is perfect to remark that the Great War haunted many people to the end of their lives.
We can see much of the themes shown in the fifth chapter of the anthology developed in this episode.

 But maybe the best summary to the episodes and the chapters in the anthology is: the more you look at the skull the more angry does it seem.


I've read some books of my private library to deepen my knowledge of some of the authors in the anthology, as in some of their rhetorical devices. However, some of these books are a bit old-fashioned in their translations and some of them should be edited in a more modern version or directly retired from bookshops because of their many faults. Some of them are:
-Graves, Robert; 'Poemas'; Ed. Pre-textos (2005), edited and translated by Antonio Rivero Taravillo. This is a wonderful translation with a brief introduction that show the key points in Graves' literary career. The bilingual edition is wonderful to compare the original text with the translation into Spanish. Although it is a very good translation, there are some things that I don't agree with the final result (but bearing in mind that this is a great transalation).
-Graves, Robert; '100 Poemas'; Ed. Lumen (1981), translated by Claribel Alegría y Darwin J. Flakoll. This bilingual edition has a very interesting preface by Paul O'Prey, and its short but representative selection of Graves' work is one of the best translations made in Spanish from Graves' verses.
(Both volumes containe a few poems of Graves' war poetry, but it is comprehensible because Graves himself decided to remove most of the poems of the war period since he declared that they were not very good poems but part of a fashionable way of writing)

-Lowell, Amy; 'El jardín de Sevenels'; Ed. Torremozas (2007), translated by Marta Porpetta. This is, astonishingly, the only book of poems by Lowell translated into Spanish with a quite good translation and an interesting introduction by Luzmaría Jiménez Faro.

-Kipling, Rudyard; 'Poemas'; Ed. renacimiento (1996), translated by José Manuel Benítez Ariza. Being this a translation I don't like it very much, I think this book is a quite interesting way of going into Kipling's world.
-Kipling, Rudyard; 'Poemas''; Ed. Visor (2007), translated by Luis Cremades. Having this book the translated version of the preface T. S. Eliot wrote for a selection of Kipling's poetry, it is a fundamental book to understand how Kipling writes as he does. The worst of this book is that it only contains the translated version of the poems, lacking the originals.

-Hardy, Thomas; 'Los poemas del novelista'; Ed. Hiperión (2002), translated by Adolfo Sarabia. This book contains a brief selection of the entire Hardy's poetic work; and although it is a good book for a first contact with Hardy's poems it has some mistakes in the translation of the poems.
-Hardy, Thomas; 'El gamo ante la casa solitaria'; Ed Pre-textos (1999), translated by Francisco M. López Serrano. With one of the best prefaces to Hardy's poetic work, the translation of the poems seems to me one of the best made into Spanish.
-Hardy, Thomas; 'Poemas'; Ed. La Veleta (2001), with a selection and a translation by Joan Margarit and Sam Abrams. With the best preface written about Hardy's poems and poetics, it has a great selection from eight of his book of verses including 'Satires of circumstance'; and the translation into Spanish is one of the best of this selection of books related to the poets we've seen in the anthology of WWI Poetry.

-Eliot, T. S.; 'La tierra baldía'; Ed. Cátedra (2005), translated by Viorica Patea. With one of the best prefaces I've never read about 'The Waste Land' and a great translaton into Spanish, it has a great quantity of notes that help to understand the text. Besides, the edition is bilingual.
-Eliot, T. S.; 'La tierra estéril'; Ed. Visor (2009), translated by Jaime Tello. It has a brief preface and the translation is not the best one I've read.
-Eliot, T. S.; 'La tierra yerma'; Ed. Fraterna (1988), translated by Alberto Girri. This is another of the best translations into Spanish and the book has a very good amount of notes at the end of the book that help very much to understand some passages of the poem.

-Pound, Ezra; 'Personae Los poemas breves'; Ed. Hiperión (2007), translated by Jesús Munárriz and Jenaro Talens. This bilingual translation is perfect to understand the first poetic cycle in the work of Ezra Pound.

-Owe, Wilfred; 'Poemas de guerra'; Ed. Acantilado (2011), translated by Gabriel Insausti. This is maybe the worst translations, or one of the worst, of these books I'm mentioning. Although it's a good book because we can find a great amount of Owen's poems, as the preface (in Spanish, of course) Siegfried Sassoon wrote for the first edition of Owen's verses.

-'Tengo una cita con la muerte', Borja Aguiló - Ben Clark (eds); Ed. Linteo (2011); this selection of world war I poets is maybe the best one made ever in Spanish. The preface clarifies a lot of things unknown for us who live in Spain, the selection of the poets covers a wide range of styles and includes some of the best poems of the period, one feels grateful with the bilingual edition, and the translation seems to me almost perfect.