El alamein

Killing time: the poetry of Keith Douglas

Keith Douglas is perhaps the best-known overlooked poet. He died following the D-Day landings in 1944, and his Collected Poems were published in 1951, followed by a Selected Poems in 1964. ‘Now, 20 years after his death,’ wrote Ted Hughes in his slightly puffy introduction to that volume, ‘it is becoming clear that he offers more than just a few poems about the war.’ There was a thorough and clear-sighted biography by Desmond Graham in 1974, followed in turn by further editions: another Collected Poems, prose fragments, a memoir, and his surprisingly boring letters. Yet Douglas continues to be the kind of poet older writers like to present with a