About Keith DouglasKeith Castellain Douglas (24 January 1920 – 9 June 1944) was an English poet known for his World War II war poems and his Desert War memoir, Alamein to Zem Zem. He was killed during the Battle of Normandy. It was the First World War veteran and poet Edmund Blunden, who was his tutor at Merton, who discovered and highly valued Douglas poetic talents. Blunden sends his poems to T. S. Eliot, the dean of English poetry, who finds Douglas's lines impressive. Douglas became editor of the journal Cherwell, and one of the poets put into the anthology of the Eight Oxford Poets collection, in 1941 although at the time he was serving in the army.
Douglas describes his poetry as Extrospective, making himself, focusing on his external impressions rather than his internal emotions. The result then, according to its detractors, is a harsh, insensitive poetry, in the midst of the atrocities of war. For others, Douglas's poetry is powerful and disconcerting, as his accurate descriptions avoid selfishness and transfer the weight of emotion from the poet to the reader. His best poetry is generally considered on the level of the greatest war poets of the 20th century.
In his poem Desert Flowers (1943), Douglas mentions World War I poet Isaac Rosenberg, stating that he is merely repeating what Rosenberg has already written.
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