Unforgetting Private Charles Smith
by Jonathan Locke Hart
Private Charles Smith had been dead for close to a century when Jonathan Hart discovered the soldier’s small diary in the Baldwin Collection at the Toronto Public Library. After some research, Hart discovered that Charles Smith was an Anglo-Canadian, born in Kent, and that this diary was almost all that remained of this forgotten man, who like so many soldiers from ordinary families had lost his life in the First World War. In reading the diary, Hart discovered a voice full of life, and the presence of a rhythm, a cadence that urged him to bring forth the poetry in Smith’s words.
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