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Scottish war poetry fights for both sides in the independence battle

A century on from the first world war, its poetry sheds intriguing light on the questions of nationhood awaiting an answer in this autumn's referendum

For readers of English verse, the term "war poetry" evokes a very specific set of images: mud, blood, lions led by donkeys, ferocious irony and English village greens to be defended. In effect, the canonical parameters of modern English war poetry were established during the 1914-18 period, on the back of the work of a handful of English-born male writers. In recent decades, these parameters have loosened, especially with the wider recognition of the poetry written by women during and about the two world wars. This act of recovery has expanded our view of what war poetry might be, but there is still much to be done.

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