Love and War

Armistice Day allows us to reflect on the heavy price we all pay for war.

The First World War encapsulates the agony and ecstasy of war. Our understanding of that war comes from poets. No other war, before or since, has been captured by poetry in the same way. All the great poets of the First World War would have been described as queer. They loved men. But at the time, intimacy between men was a crime. These queer poets were immersed in the male world of war, torn between love and war. They were brave, often recklessly so, and they had the medals to prove it.

Love and War, a new podcast from The Independent, pieces together these gay poets’ lives through their own words. It is overwhelming and devastating. This podcast immerses the listener in some of the best and most intense poetry in the English language. 

Extracts from the song ‘By a Bier-side’ by Ivor Gurney are by courtesy of Signum Records, the Society of Authors as the literary representative of the estate of John Masefield, and the Herbert Howells Trust.

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