His self-portrait hangs in London’s National Portrait Gallery.
David Daiches, wrote about him, in Commentary, “”Had (he) lived to develop further along the lines on which he had already moved, he might have changed the course of modern English poetry, producing side by side with the poetry of Eliot and his school a richer and more monumental kind of verse, opposing a new romantic poetry to the new metaphysical brand.”
He was born in 1890, enlisted in the Great War, what we now call World War I, in 1915 and died in the battle of Arras on April 1, 1918.
He is Isaac Rosenberg, born in Bristol, UK, 1n 1890, to immigrants who escaped religious persecution in Lithuania. His family was poverty-striken, but Rosenberg began writing poetry at the age of 15 and, fortunate for him, his great gifts were recognized early on.
Rosenberg’s writing during his early days reflects heavily the styles of Keats, Shelly, and Swinburne and Hardy, and showed great promise, but his writing between 1912 and 1914 becomes to show his own voice, a trend which continued and developed through his days in the trenches. Robert Graves called him “a born revolutionary.” Sadly, his death in battle in 1918 silenced his great promise.
Below are two poems written in 1914.
By what pale light or moon-pale shore
Not in Heaven and not in earth
Far away — O far away,
|On Receiving News of the War
Snow is a strange white word.
During his enlistment, Rosenberg’s poetry was written in letters and sent back and is thus reserved for posterity.
Here are two from 1916, two years in battle, when his poetry seems to have flowered:
Moses, from whose loins I sprung,
| Break of Day in the Trenches
The darkness crumbles away.