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Alan Seeger Biography

(1888–1916), Harvard Monthly, North American Review, Poems of Alan Seeger

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American poet, born in New York City, educated at Harvard, where he contributed poems to the Harvard Monthly, which he edited in his final year. He went to Paris in 1912 to pursue a bohemian existence and was among forty Americans who joined the French Foreign Legion at the outbreak of the First World War. He gained wide notice in America following the publication of ‘Ode in Memory of the American Volunteers Fallen for France’ in the North American Review. In 1916 he was killed in the Battle of the Somme and was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Medaille Militaire. Poems of Alan Seeger (1916), his only collection of verse, included examples of his early poetry in addition to the body of work drawing on his experiences of the conflict; contrasting images of natural beauty and the ravaged landscapes of Flanders are used to memorable effect in ‘I Have a Rendezvous with Death’, his best-known poem, which expresses the lyric fatalism recurrent in his work. The Letters and Diary of Alan Seeger was published in 1917. For some time after his death his reputation was equivalent to that of Rupert Brooke in England.

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