Poem Essay: Second World War


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Poems and Expression: New York & Second World War

Poem Essay Example: Introduction

New York is the center of art, and in the 20th century, New York is the first place to meet art and artists. Moreover, there are several reasons why is New York City embraces art. First of all, during the II. World War artists came to America because New York was safer than Europe, and artists continued to create their artworks in the city. However, the sufferings from the war had an impact on individuals and artists. They have suffered from depression. In addition, major depression began before II. World War because there was a major economic collapse in 1929. Therefore, the impacts of these crises led individuals to depression because the way of living became harder during that time; moreover, after the crises, the II. World War began, and individuals lived in fear. The economy became more damaged than before. Therefore, one generation grew up with fear. However, the golden age generation had to see that the world's glory collapsed with war. This paper focuses on two poets who lived through the war, and they reflected the impacts of war in their poems. Therefore, in this paper, I argue that artists who saw war are describing the impacts of madness in their poems, and also, I argue that both poetries are criticizing capitalism in their poems.

Body Paragraphs

New York City embraced art at the beginning of the 20th century. The improvements in art continued in the 20th century without slowing down. There was a Harlem Renaissance which affected art culture deeply. Artists who lived in the United States were inspired by the Harlem Renaissance. Moreover, Jazz and Blues were inspiring artists because rhythm could be used in poems, and Langston Hughes's poems are an example of using the rhythm. Therefore, Harlem Renaissance artists proved that the United States was a suitable choice for making art.

The city also embraced art with Village Artists who made the changes in art culture such as Edgar Ellen Poe, Emma Goldman, William Blake, and these artists influenced the other artists who would follow their path. The Village became somewhere that art was only processing; there were gay bars in the Village. The Village was the center of acceptance. Moreover, their artworks increased the popularity of the United States about becoming an art center.

H. W. Auden is one of these artists who chose to come to the United States to create artworks. Moreover, he was born in 1907, and he is from the golden generation. However, he was born in England. He had a good education in England, and he became famous because with his Poems book in 1930, and he wrote three plays with Christopher Isherwood, this collaboration helped Auden to become a widely known artist. However, their collaboration started rumors and affected Auden's reputation in such a way that Auden did not want. Therefore, he came to the United States to escape from the rumors. Moreover, he started to teach in American universities, and he became an official citizen of the United States in 1946. He did not attend the II. World War, but he examined the impacts of war on the individuals (“H.W Auden,” 2019). After all, capitalism raised in the United States because they won the war. However, some methods that the United States used for winning the war affected Auden's poems. Eventually, the war was over, but capitalism kept fighting with individuals in society. In addition, Allen Ginsberg, affected by the II. World War and its impacts on individuals, and also, he criticizes capitalism and its impacts on society. He was born in 1926 in the United States. He represented the first generation that came after the major depression. He is the precursor of the Beats art movement. The Beats art movement challenged the norms of a conformist society. Moreover, his mother was a supporter of communism, and his family was Jewish.

Therefore, Allen was affected by the Holocaust because, in Europe, fascism killed the people who shared the same religion. The impacts of II. World War affected Allen's poetry because he described the effects of madness. In addition, he used themes such as madness, mental illness, sexuality, drugs, homosexuality, politics, and capitalism. Allen Ginsberg's most famous poem is Hawl, and it represents the manifest of the Beats. Moreover, he is inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, and he liked the rhythm. Therefore, his writing style uses rhythm, and he has a rhythmic writing technique. He criticized capitalism, and according to his poems, he felt the loneliness in the capitalist system. However, he has a brave attitude in his poems. He confessed the drug addiction that he carries, and also he mentioned the sexual intention in society. According to Allen, his generation was fighting with madness, and the treatments were not useful.

H.W Auden used themes in his poems, such as love, politics, religion, and morals. Moreover, his poetry is a stylistic and technical, and his writing style contributes the themes to become more clear and sincere. In addition, his poem includes cultural backgrounds, and he mentions ancient gods and goddesses in his poems. According to his poem, which is used the theme of politics delivers a clear message that the United States bombed the nation, and it supported its action with the propaganda. In addition, Auden was criticizing the advertising impacts on individuals. Moreover, Allen Ginsberg use the themes that Hawl's poetry represents his perspective on these themes. This quote from the Hawl tells the impacts of war, "who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion,” their generation became hopeless due to the war, and blue moonlight is an metaphor for their hopelessness. Therefore this quote addresses his ideas “who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa," he does not believe the promises of America and he is addressing the Atlantic Slave trade, and this is the way of reminding America’ bad actions and ship to Africa is an metaphor. Allen Ginsberg poetry is complex than Auden’s.

As mentioned earlier, Auden's poems require reading with the historical background because he uses metaphors of these historical characters to tell the similarity of the current situation, such as this quote, "Exiled Thucydides knew. All that a speech can say, About Democracy", in this sentence, he addresses one of the greatest ancient historians, Thucydides (c.460 B.C.–c.400 B.C.) chronicled nearly 30 years of war and tension between Athens and Sparta. His 'History of the Peloponnesian War' set a standard for scope, concision, and accuracy that makes it a defining text of the historical genre, and he raises a question about democracy. In addition, in the same poem, he addresses the rise of fascism and capitalism with these words ".Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth" in this quote, he addresses the II.World War and its impacts on individuals. Therefore, dishonest decade is an metaphor for fasicism

Auden kept addressing the capitalism impacts on individuals like Gibsberg and in the Auden’s The Unknown Citizen poem (“The Unknow,” 2020). He used this sentence to address capitalism “The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day and that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.” And also end of the poem, he raised an important question with these words "Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd: Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard." Arguably, Auden is saying that even if a man fulfills the necessities of capitalism, he might not be happy. Eventually, Auden represents a modernist poem; his stylistic writing and techniques are suitable for the modernist poem. Moreover, his poetry is fluent and rhythmic and he is saying the things both simple and metaphoricly in his poems.

Poem Essay Example: Conclusion

To sum up, New York City became a center for artists during the 20th century. Therefore, art movements begun in the United States. However, New York was the center of capitalism, and the artist started to criticize capitalism. Moreover, artists like W. H Auden and Allen Ginsberg used the political theme for criticizing capitalism. Also, they were aware of the capitalism raised because the United States won the II. World War. The impacts of war profoundly affected the artists. In this sense, their poems are addressing the war impacts on individuals. They survived the major depression, and they kept creating art until the day they died. They were the precursor of their art movements.


“The Unknown Citizen by W. H. Auden - Poems | Academy of American Poets.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, poets.org/poem/unknown-citizen.

“W.H. Auden.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 18 June 2019, www.biography.com/writer/wh-auden.

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Zendaya Kane
Zendaya Kane
Content Lead at Tamara Research. Major in Advertising, loves working.

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