47 John Allan Wyeth Redux

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This blog continues the story of John Allan Wyeth from Blog 46, The Little-Known Poet Buried in Blawenburg. If you have not done so already, be sure to read Blog 46 first.

John Allan Wyeth’s 33rd Division in the Argonne Offensive in WWI

In our last blog, we told the story of the little-known poet, John Allan Wyeth, who is buried in Blawenburg Cemetery. Since that blog was published, we have learned more about the personal life of John Wyeth and felt it was worth sharing.

Steve Boynton, a long-time resident of Blawenburg and subscriber to this blog, told us that he knew John Allan Wyeth and his family that he lived with at the end of his life. So, we continue the story here with some new information about John and his family. “I knew John and his niece Jane Marion McLean when they were living in her house on Bedens Brook Road on the bad curve,” Steve said.

“Julie (Steve’s late wife) and I were entertained for cocktails and dinner many an evening at the McLean home. John gave us his painting of the view looking from Jane's across the fields to the milking barns. It still hangs in our dining room. Jane was a poet as well. She was kind enough to give me a copy of her book, Brief Experience at War and Peace. She served in WWII. I believe she was in the OSS. Both John and Jane were great readers and supported Titles Unlimited in Montgomery when I was working there. Good folks!”

View of the Farm, an unnamed painting by John Allan Wyeth The Poet from the Lost Generation John Wyeth has the dubious honor of being an unknown poet. Wyeth scholar and blogger, B. J. Omanson describes him this way. "Of all the writers of the Lost Generation, there was perhaps none quite so lost as John Allan Wyeth. Until his 1928 book of war poems was reprinted by Fitzgerald scholar Matthew Bruccoli in 2008 (This Man's Army, Univ of SC Press), Wyeth’s literary reputation was non-existent.”

John was discovered 80 years after the publication of his book, but his recognition came posthumously. He wrote 55 sonnets for This Man’s Army. An example of his work recalls a time near the end of World War I when he, like so many other soldiers at that time, was stricken with influenza. Wyeth ended up in an evacuation hospital in Souilly, a small town in northeast France near the Luxembourg/Belgium border. The pandemic was wreaking havoc on soldiers and civilians worldwide at the time. He survived and wrote his 54th sonnet about the hospital.