War Poetry

War Poetry – From the War to End all Wars

Good writing is often inspired by some of the worst circumstances imaginable – and some of the most provocative poetry was written during the trench warfare of World War I. After all, as Wordsworth once stated, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflowing of powerful feelings.”

Poetry Foundation's WW1 Collection

Poetry Foundation’s WW1 Collection (click image for poetry links)

After reading through 4-5 (or more) poems from the poetry collection above, choose a poem to analyze for theme. What universal idea was the poet expressing? You may want to read more about the poet to guide your thinking. Put the theme into 2-3 sentences. Following that, analyze your chosen poem’s structure. What rhyme scheme does it have, if any? What rhythm? How is it divided? Describe your chosen poem’s structure in 2-3 sentences. For your last piece of analysis, look for any literary devices (see link for large list). In 4-6 sentences identify 1-3 literary devices, providing your own explanation for why you think the poet chose to use those devices. Then, write your own poem, conveying a similar theme to your chosen poem. Do your best to also follow the chosen poem’s structure, while making use of 1-3 literary devices. Finally, in 4-6 sentences describe how your poem parallels your chosen poem in theme and structure, while also sharing your rationale for the literary devices you used.

The Formal Essay

Upon completing the above process, formulate all of your writing into an informational essay, which includes a link to your chosen poem, displays your created poem, and analyzes both in tandem for theme, structure, and literary devices.


  • You will be graded using the Common Core Information Writing Rubric, as provided by Elk Grove Unified School District. Your work is worth 50 points (the rubric x2).
  • Your deadline is June 5th. The estimated amount of time for this project is 3-6 hours. You should distribute this time from now until the deadline.
  • Your final work should be submitted via Google Classroom in the format provided on the submission form.
  • Call for exemplary work – If you would like to be an example for others to follow, please submit work by May 20th. If your work is completed by that date AND deemed exemplary by me, I will give you a 10% bonus and also display your work here.

Exemplary Student Work – Coming Soon!