Edwin Brock was a British poet. Brock wrote two of the best-known poems of the last century, Five Ways to Kill a Man and Song of the Battery Hen.Brocks poems amply demonstrate the virtues of his intensely felt, supple, direct and memorable work. Five Ways to Kill a Man is chilling in its deliberately emotionless tone as it uses the language of a practical manual to explore humanitys cruelty. Progress is reduced to the way in which mankind has improved its methods of killing.
Inspired by a performance of Benjamin Brittens War Requiem and written quickly, the poem has an air of authority which Brocks reading emphasises. Song of the Battery Hen is similarly suited to being spoken aloud. Though written as a dramatic monologue, in his introduction Brock makes it clear the poem has autobiographical resonance. As such it is a good example of his belief that most activity is an attempt to define oneself in one way or another: for me poetry, and only poetry, has provided this self-defining act.