Simplify Me When I'm Dead

Poems Selected by Ted Hughes

Keith Douglas

Faber and Faber, Inc.

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Remember me when I am dead
and simplify me when I'm dead.
 
As the processes of earth
strip off the colour and the skin
take the brown hair and blue eye
 
and leave me simpler than at birth
when hairless I came howling in
as the moon came in the cold sky.
—from Simplify me when I'm dead

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.”

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Reviews

Praise for Simplify Me When I'm Dead

“Each poem turns out to be an exercise [and] whatever they are, these 'exercises' display [the poet's] striving towards and, briefly, perfecting the qualities we value in him: the incisive, nimble glance, the uniquely tempered music, the simple, point-blank, bull's-eye statement, the tensile delicacy.” —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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About the Author

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.

Keith Douglas

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Available Formats and Book Details

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

Hardcover

Hardcover
Faber & Faber
Faber and Faber, Inc.
June 2010
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780571230389
ISBN10: 0571230385
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 64 pages
$23.00
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