Sidney Keyes

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

:: Poet Home :: Poetry :: Short Stories :: Contact ::

Sidney Arthur Kilworth Keyes (May 27, 1922, Dartford, Kent — 19 April 1943, Tunisia) was an English poet of World War II.


  • 1 Life and work
  • 2 Contemporaries
  • 3 Works
  • 4 Notes
  • 5 External links

Life and work

Keyes was born in Dartford. His father was an officer in the army, and as a child Keyes was raised by his grandfather. He attended Dartford Grammar School, Tonbridge School and studied at Oxford University where he and the poet John Heath-Stubbs became friends. The outbreak of war curtailed his university career. He joined the army in 1942 and fought in Tunis as a lieutenant in the West Kent Regiment. He was killed in action during a raid, one month before his 21st birthday.

In 1944 he was posthumously awarded the Hawthornden Prize.


His contemporary, the poet Keith Douglas was also born in Kent, also left Oxford to serve in the war, and was also killed in action. Another contemporary was Philip Larkin who felt considerable animosity towards Keyes.[1]


  • Eight Oxford Poets (1941) edited with Michael Meyer
  • The Iron Laurel (1942)
  • The Cruel Solstice (1943)
  • Collected Poems (1945)


  1. ^ see Tim Kendall's review of Keyes' Collected Poems
  • The poem 'War Poet' plus brief biographical footnote
  • University of Greenwich archive note
  • Short biography at Find A Grave
  • This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from a Wikipedia article. To access the original click here.
    Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
    under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
    or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
    with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
    A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
    Free Documentation License".