There is an excellent article in the
Wall Street Journal, today, about
this "man of extraordinary talent."
Here is a bit of the article,
written by Martin Rubin:
Rosenberg was in South Africa, visiting a sister, when war broke out in 1914. He seemed to believe that the war needed to be prosecuted vigorously in order for the world to get past it, and he returned to England to volunteer.
Part of his motive was economic: He wanted his mother to have the paltry few shillings a week she would get from the army as his next of kin, a measure of how dire the family's financial straits continued to be...
To read of Rosenberg's privations -- the ill-fitting boots, the appalling food -- is to get a rare picture of the enlisted man's lot in World War I. (Most of the other war poets were officers.)
Rosenberg was killed by a German raiding party on April 1, 1918, near Arras, France, during Ludendorff's big spring offensive.
Throughout the war, Ms. Wilson shows, Rosenberg's poetry had been going from strength to strength. One can only imagine what he might have produced if he lived beyond the armistice.
Ms. Wilson is a marvelously well-informed guide to this tragically brief and artistically rich life.
She closes with haunting words of Rosenberg's, discovered among his belongings after he died:
'How small a thing is art. A little pain; disappointment, and any man feels a depth -- a boundlessness of emotion, inarticulate thoughts no poet has ever succeeded in imag[in]g. Death does not conquer me. I conquer death, I am the master.'