Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sidney Arthur Kilworth Keyes (27 May 1922 â€" 29 April 1943, Tunisia) was an English poet of World War II.


Early years

Keyes was born May 27, 1922. He boarded at Tonbridge School (Hillside, 1935-1940) during his secondary education, after which he attended the Queen's College, Oxford. While at college, Keyes wrote the only two books of his lifetime, The Cruel Solstice and The Iron Laurel. During his time in Oxford, Keyes fell in love with the young German artist Milein Cosman, but his love was not returned.

Military service

Keyes left Oxford and joined the army in April 1942, entering active service that same year. He was sent with his regiment to fight in the Tunisia Campaign of World War II. Prior to his service, Keyes had already written more than half of the 110 poems that would later be gathered in >The Collected Poems of Sidney Keyes. During combat, he was reported to have continued writing poetry. However, these works have not survived.


Keyes fought and died in action on 29 April 1943, shortly before his 21st birthday. It has also been stated that he died at the hands of the enemy, following his capture.


In 1943, Keyes was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for The Cruel Solstice and The Iron Laurel.


Sidney Keyes


Sidney Keyes
  • Berryman, John (1947), "Review: Young Poets Dead", The Sewanee Review (Johns Hopkins University Press) 55 (3) 
  • Hynes, Samuel (1990), "Review: Sidney Keyes, Poet", The Sewanee Review (Johns Hopkins University Press) 98 (2) 
  • Dickey, James (March 2004), Donald Greiner, ed., Classes on Modern Poets and the Art of Poetry, University of South Carolina Press 
  • Kendall, Tim (2006), Modern English War Poetry, Oxford University Press 
  • Kendall, Tim; Geoffrey Hill (2009), The Oxford Handbook of British and Irish War Poetry, Oxford University Press 
  • Cosman, Milein, Memories of Sidney Keyes 
  • Roy, Pinaki. “Sidney Keyes: The War-poet who ‘groped for Death’”. War, Literature and the Arts (U.S. Air Force Academy) (ISSN 2169-7914), 26 (1), 2014: http://wlajournal.com/wlaarchive/26/Roy.pdf

Sidney Keyes
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