Simplify Me When I'm Dead Poems Selected by Ted Hughes

Keith Douglas

Faber & Faber




64 Pages


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By the time he was killed in Normandy in June 1944, at the age of only twenty-four, Keith Douglas had achieved a body of work that singled him out as the most brilliant and promising English poet of World War II. While his early poems deal with the wonder and pain of love, his later poems are focused on the misery and brutality of war and death. His body of work still conveys a rare immediacy and youthful power, marked—as Ted Hughes wrote in his introduction—by a “burning exploratory freshness of mind.”


Praise for Simplify Me When I'm Dead

"Read him; he's a fine, irascible, powerful, cynical, imaginative poet who never had more than a little bit of a chance, as he says, because of military engagements that might be the end of him. And they were. But on the page—the pages—Keith Douglas exists: not still exists, but exists. And so does the war in the desert, and the brave and good poet that he was."—James Dickey, from Classes on Modern Poets and the Art of Poetry

“[Douglas's poetry] is still very much alive, and even providing life. And the longer it lives, the fresher it looks . . . It is not enough to say that the language is utterly simple, the musical inflection of it peculiarly honest and charming, the technique  flawless. The language is also extremely forceful; or rather, it reposes at a point it could only have reached, this very moment, by a feat of great strength . . . His triumph lies in the way he renews the simplicity of ordinary talk, and he does this by infusing every word with a burning exploratory freshness of mind."—Ted Hughes, from his Introduction

“Ted did a beautiful [BBC radio] program on a marvelous young British poet, Keith Douglas, killed in the last war . . . Both of us mourn this poet immensely and feel he would have been like a lovely big brother to us.”—from a letter Sylvia Plath wrote to her mother in June 1962

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KEITH DOUGLAS was also the author of a memoir of his experiences in World War II, Alamein to Zem Zem. He died in France in June 1944.

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  • Keith Douglas

  • Keith Douglas was also the author of a memoir of his experiences in World War II, Alamein to Zem Zem. He died in France in June 1944.