The Poetic Life of Alan Seeger

an article by Quinten Rhea, a.k.a. Book Smith

‘…of a Vow Fulfilled‘ I just put the finishing touches on a New Radio special on the all-too-brief but beautifully Poetic Life of an American Hero and Poet, Alan Seeger.

Listen to the Documentary on Alan Seeger by Quinten Rhea.

July 4th is when everyone is feeling patriotic in America. For me It will always be a date forever tinged with some somber feelings as well. Democracy is a Universal Ideal. America does not own the rights to Democracy. All countries can claim the rights to Democracy. It is an ideal, a birthright instilled in us regardless of our environment. It is a Human Right, and when it is threatened and imperiled, Souls rise up to defend its honor and freedom regardless of the personal cost and sacrifice. It takes an even greater, and perhaps more compassionate soul to Volunteer to defend Democracy for a Foreign Country. Alan Seeger was such a Soul. Al was an American, who loved America, but also fell in Love with Paris, France. It offered him the Passionate, Romantic, Artistic environment he craved. When She was in peril and threatened with annihilation he felt it his personal responsibility to defend her honor and liberty. ‘It is the Payment of the debt we owe’ He was a true Romantic indeed.

Alan enlisted in the French Foreign Legion to fight for France. The wheels of fate, and the gears of war were already turning. Alan endured some of the most intense hardships that can befall a soldier. Trench warfare is perhaps the most depriving experience a soldier can face, with cold, dampness, hunger and discomfort as constant companions. But Alan embraced it all, and through it all, at the core of his being he is a Poet, and a true Romantic Poet. He shared Life’s joys and in no less its sorrows and embraced it all, a vivid and virile soul.

Alan had a M.S. of some Poetry what he called his ‘Juvenilia’ Poetry which he had hoped to publish before the outbreak of the war, but left them in the keeping of a printer. A lot can be gleaned from his personal letters home which he wrote from the trenches. Even in this horrible nightmare of an environment, Alan’s Poetic Spirit comes through as we hear him describe the countryside of France and the emotions of war under the infinite universe. Even before the war he had written very poignant and haunting pieces about war that almost seem to foretell his own experience in some creative clairvoyance; he perhaps wrote his own best epitaph…’that blessed Pilgrim of a Vow fulfilled’.

Read the poetry of Alan Seeger at

Check out Quinten’s orginal article with more pictures on his blog, Sacred Arts Dialog.