Philip Child: WWI Poet and University of Toronto Scholar
Rediscovered by Chris Jennings, who, like Child, once worked for the University of Toronto Quarterly.
Arguably the best-known of Canadian poems written about the experience of World War I, “In Flanders Fields” by John McRae is a poem that isn’t much praised for its techniques or the subtlety of its themes. Philip Child shares McRae’s claim to immediate experience of the war; more, he saw what McRae didn’t: the way war fostered a culture of modernity and a modern literature. Both technically and thematically, Child’s poetry tries to harmonize a life segmented by experiences before, during, and after the war. An award-winning novelist before he turned from fiction to poetry, Child wrote two books of poems that fascinate as a highly intelligent, highly literate veteran’s attempt to make sense of an experience that few living voices still share.