Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Writers and Armistice/Remembrance Day

Ninety years ago today, on the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, World War One ended. Here in Madrid there's an exhibition titled "¡1914! The Avant-Garde and the Great War" exploring how World War One affected the art and ideas of Europe. I've blogged about it here.
My favorite items in the extensive collections of paintings and sculptures were two trench notebooks, one by Guillaume Apollinaire and the other by André More. Apollinaire was a poet who coined the term "surrealism" and sadly died just two days before the end of the war. More was a painter and lived until 1932. Apollinaire wrote poems while at the front, often forming the words into pictures. More painted colorful portraits of fellow soldiers that look like pages from an illuminated manuscript.
What's amazing about these guys is that while hunkering down amid the mud and body parts, they continued to create. Nothing could stop their art, not gas attacks, not snipers, not days of shelling. So the next time you say that you have too much going on in your life to write, remember these guys and get back to work.
Photo courtesy Caroline Ford, from Wikimedia Commons, reproduced under GNU Free Documentation License.

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