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POETRY of WORLD WAR 1.: David Jones

David Jones: Biography

David Jones was born in the district of Brockley, on the southeast side of London (his mother's native place) in 1895. His father was a Welsh emigré to London, where he worked as a printer. Jones received little formal education aside from art school (at the Camberwell School of Art, 1909-14, and later the Westminster School of Art, 1919-21), but was extremely receptive from a young age and by his teens was familiar with Welsh mythology, as well as Latin and Old English poetry.
     Eager to serve at the outbreak of the First World War, he was nonetheless rejected from two regiments before enlisting in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, with whom he fought from 1915-19 as a private and mostly in the trenches. The Great War crucially shaped his imagination and inspired his first poetic work, In Parenthesis, published in 1937, and hailed by T.S. Eliot as 'a work of genius.' He received similar approbation throughout his career from W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Hugh McDiarmid, Kathleen Raine, R.S. Thomas, Evelyn Waugh, Seamus Heaney, Igor Stravinsky and many others.