War Poetry Website header image

Main Index

First World War
poets and poetry

Minds at War
The classic poems of First World War and more.
In depth background commentary.


Back to

Poetry about the Second World War

Contact us

Latest news page




























































To top of page

About the anthology
, Out in the Dark

First World War Index

Out in the Dark cover image

Out in the Dark 
Poetry of the First World War 

in Context and with Basic Notes

Edited by David Roberts

192 pages    9x6"   234x156mm 
  Paperback, Illustrated,
Tenth printing

Published by Saxon Books  
 ISBN 978 0 9528969 1 3
£10-99 (UK)

For students and the general reader

This anthology has been prepared for the general reader and will have a special value for students, including GCSE and A level. See below.

To Buy Now - click on Amazon link. This will give you the opportunity to find other booksellers offering this book for sale at a variety of prices, new and second-hand.


Wide range of poems

Out in the Dark contains 

  • the most important poems of the First World War (more details below)

  • popular verse  

  • Poetry by 17 women poets 

  • a few examples of late 19th century English militarist verse 

  • basic explanatory notes on unusual expressions or vocabulary

  • a glossary

  • illustrations including contemporary photographs, posters, maps and diagrams

    Many of the poems are currently selected by exam boards. The 19th century poems, examples of the culture of Empire and militarism, help to explain both the rush to war and the nature of the early poetry of the First World War - 140 poems in all by 47 poets.

Grouped for better understanding

The great classic poets of the war: Wilfred Owen (19 poems), Siegfried Sassoon (27), Edward Thomas (13), Thomas Hardy (9), Rupert Brooke (6), Charles Sorley (6), Isaac Rosenberg (9) have their poems arranged in date order in separate chapters. As a result the development of their ideas or styles may more readily be appreciated. 
Forty other poets round out this poignant collection.

Other chapters include Britain Dreams of War, the Home Front, Women Poets, and Trench Warfare. 

To top of page

Appreciating the poems

Out in the Dark contains the background information (including extracts from poets' letters and diaries) and specialised vocabulary that students need to be able to understand and interpret set war poetry texts. Comments of past and present day critics give starting points for considering alternative interpretations of many poems. 
This anthology of war poetry, with its contextual material and strong illustrations will prove stimulating and rewarding, and an ideal resource for "coursework."  

Suitable for GCSE and GCE A/AS  level students - for example, OCR GCSE English Literature: Post 1914 texts, coursework to include “comparisons . . .  Relation of texts to social, cultural, and historical contexts.”

Main differences from Minds at War

Fewer poems (but see list of poets and poems in Out in the Dark.
Poets and Poems in Out in the Dark
) and less background information -  though still substantial and still including extracts from poets' letters and diaries. Has the addition of basic notes explaining unusual vocabulary with almost all poems and the addition of comments of critics on a number of key poets, making it invaluable to students.

Comments on Out in the Dark

"By far the most useful anthology for students; it is really well designed, and gives students just the context they need for the poetry.  It also provides a particularly stimulating selection of poems.  I like it very much, but I actually feel that schools (and universities for that matter) should have both volumes. [Minds at War and Out in the Dark.]"  -  Felicity Currie, author of the Textwise study guides to English literature*, former assistant chief examiner in A level English Literature, university lecturer. 

"Out in the Dark . . . a substantial anthology of key poems and a wide range of selected material from diaries, letters, other poetry of the period, contextual and critical material . . . [Out in the Dark and Minds at War] contain a wealth of information and creative material which puts many other First World War anthologies into the shade." - - Gordon Hodgson, in National Association of Teachers of English web review on yahoo.co.uk.

"The poets are put precisely in their social and political context, with the pre-war background set out helpfully and basic notes to the poems. . .  The book helps you to understand public opinion by including poems written as pro-war and imperialist and militarist arguments which prepared young minds to support and wage war. . .   Contains Sassoon's 'wilful defiance of military authority [statement]' because the war had 'become a war of aggression and conquest,' and Arnold Bennett's argument against it. . .   Tellingly illustrated and balanced."  -  Ronald Mallone, Day by Day.

To top of page

    * A Textwise guide to the poetry of the First World War consists of 48 A4 spiral bound, photocopiable pages of in depth analysis of poetry by 12 First World War poets. The pages arepacked with sharp insights and written with an infectious passion for the subject. They cannot fail to enlighten and inspire students.

    More information is available from The Critical Forum, 10 West Street, Buckingham  MK18 1HL  or visit their web site: http://www.thecriticalforum.co.uk/

    Cover of Out in the Dark

    Out in the Dark
    Poetry of the First World War

    in Context and with Basic Notes
    David Roberts

    Published by Saxon Books 

    Eighth printing

    192 pages   9x6",  234x156mm,  Paperback  Illustrated  

    ISBN 0 978 9528969 1 3  

    £10-99 (UK) 

    See list of poets and poems in Out in the Dark.
    Poets and Poems in Out in the Dark

    To information about Minds at War 


      To BOOKS PAGE for links to online bookstores

    Are you about to study war poetry?

    War poetry anthologies for students - another presentation

    Main Index

    First World War Poetry

    To top of page

    Cover illustration of Out in the Dark is based on a First World War photograph of an ammunition dump which exploded when it was struck at night.


    Copyright, David Roberts©1999-2008

    This page may be freely copied.