When the United States and other powers declined to help fight fascist power at the onset of the Spanish Civil War, forty thousand private citizens from fifty-two countries rallied to join the International Brigade's defense of the Spanish Republic. Born out of the struggle between fascism and democracy and considered the first battle of World War II, the Spanish Civil War holds tremendous ideological significance and has inspired a remarkable range of American poetry. The Wound and the Dream
represents the sixty-year tradition of American poetic responses to the Spanish Civil War and provides an overview of progressive American poetry as a whole. Four of the featured poets--Alvah Bessie, William Lindsay Gresham, James Neugass, and Edwin Rolfe--were members of the International Brigade. Their poetry appears alongside lesser-known works by some of the greatest American poets of the twentieth century, including Wallace Stevens, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Randall Jarrell, Langston Hughes, and Philip Levine.
Cary Nelson's introduction discusses the collective nature of the poems, puts them in their international context, and provides a sturdy framework for interpreting the Spanish Civil War as a historical conjecture that has dramatically altered the ways we read and write poetry. The book also includes a brief biography of each poet and a glossary of related terms.