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The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen
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The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  1,654 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Wilfred Owen was twenty-two when he enlisted in the Artists' Rifle Corps during World War I. By the time Owen was killed at the age of 25 at the Battle of Sambre, he had written what are considered the most important British poems of WWI.

This definitive edition is based on manuscripts of Owen's papers in the British Museum and other archives.
Paperback, New Directions Book, 192 pages
Published January 17th 1965 by New Directions (first published 1963)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,449)
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Charles
We covered almost all of Owen's poetry in my English class. However, with Owen, poetry is not a chore, but Owen's cognitive approach to war has really changed the way that I, and millions of others, view any form of belligerence (especially between nations).

As I have no doubt that most of you know, Owen's poetry is against any form of military adventurism, the callousness of society, politics and religion ('What passing bells for those that die as cattle?'), and (most imp. I guess) the plight o
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Avempace
"At a Calvary near the Ancre" by Wilfred Owen (late 1917-early 1918).

Here is a rendition of the poem by the tenor Peter Pears from the War Requiem by Benjamin Britten:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flEp_...

Agnus Dei (chorus; Latin) interspersed with Owen's "At a Calvary near the Ancre" (tenor solo)

Tenor:
One ever hangs where shelled roads part.
In this war He too lost a limb,
But His disciples hide apart;
And now the Soldiers bear with Him.

Chorus:
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem
...more
Tony
May 24, 2014 Tony rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
THE COLLECTED POEMS OF WILFRED OWEN. (1963). Wilfred Owen. ****.
Owen is remembered as one of England’s greatest poets from WW I. This collection brings together all of his war poems and poems written before the war. It is apparent that the war changed his perspective and his ability to write poetry that contained more meaning than his early work. His best loved poem was “Anthem For Doomed Youth,” which is probably read by every English schoolboy to this day. It was unfortunate that Owen was kill
...more
Lorraine
well, this was never quite 'my' sort of poetry. I think owen is much better at writing on war than any other thing -- evenso I worry because his lines are so nice sounding and pathos filled -- I worry about the ethics of having war poetry sound so melodic (though sad).

the introduction by CDL is interesting, as the memoir by blunden. this is also quite comprehensively annotated, so the scholar would find it fairly useful.

the other thing that bugs me is owen's attitude towards women. I mean, mayb
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Olivia Calver
I have always been a fan of Owen's work and I thoroughly enjoyed the Prefix and Introduction written by C.Day Lewis. It has been beautifully crafted and I loved every second of the introduction, during which I continuously analysed the differences in language from the three time zones, 1917, 1965 and 2014. However, unfortunately the book's appendix went on too long and contained some unnecessary and confusing information which detracted from the rest of the book. As well as this, the notes benea ...more
Pam P
Oct 22, 2009 Pam P rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: poetry
I named my son Owen. Need I say more.

Ok, well Rupert,Sigfried and Wilfred were just too odd for a little guy to carry through school.
Alex
I bought this book merely on a whim after hearing lightly of wilfred owen. One must always be weary of being poetry books without knowing a thing about the author. Although this was a "blind" buy for me it is amongst the greatest purchases i've ever made(of everything not solely books). I have to recommend this for anyone who is either trying to get into wilfred owen, you know somewhat of wilfred owen or are outright and admirer of owen. It has a simple but detailed timeline of the essential thi ...more
David
To everything there is a season, the poet for a time for War

Wilfred Owen has been one of very favourite poets from before I did my 'O-levels' (come to think of it, it's hard to think of one I'd put above him); which goes to show how long ago that is around 1975! I'm apparently not completely alone, his most famous poem Dulce et decorum est is not only one of the - if not the most - famous poems of the 20th century, it is one that is actually read. Regularly voted by the Great British Public as o
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Kevin
Reading selected poems for my book group. We're reading gay poets over a year and this is the 2nd selection. I must say I wasn't too familiar with his poetry before this. He writes really moving and lovely poems about the atrocities of war and the idiocy of believing in things like how noble it is to die for one's country. I'm sure I'm oversimplifying here, but that's my takeaway. Also, I'm keen to see how one's sexuality plays out in what one writes, but it's hard to say here. I know there are ...more
Initially NO
Trudges along brilliantly. You have to be in the mood to read this one. I don't know what kind of mood exactly. A taking in of the atmosphere of horror and hallowed hell kind of mood.
Roger Lakins
I was first introduced to the poetry of Wilfred Owen through the "War Requiem" of Benjamin Britten, which sets several of the poems as solos. I have had my copy of this book for about thirty years, and it is one of my most treasured possessions. This is the most beautiful and disturbing anti-war poetry I have ever read. Wonderful poetic technique and use of images. Nothing can compare to the shock of the climactic lines of several of his poems, in particular the poem "The Parable of the Old Man ...more
Victoria Williamson
Heart wrenching, beautiful, shocking. Dulce et decorum est, spring offensive and disabled. You just want to read them loads of times. Just what I needed.
Matt
I'm not completely done with this by any stretch of the imagination, but I think I'll be digesting this book for a while, so now is as good a time as any to review it. Owen was a World War I soldier poet and many of his poems reflect his experiences at the front. At times, his writing is extremely disturbing (war is bad!?), but the quality of his writing makes it hard to put down. Definitely, his poems are worth reading and rereading to pick up all the details and images. At the same time, his p ...more
Raymonds009
I purchased this when it came out and have just reread it. The term "soldier poet" is usually ascribed to Wilfred. Seeing that description might make you think it is maudlin or sentimental. Quite the contrary. This man was the commander of at least 100 men in combat and lost his life. The people around him did not know he was a poet as he was only 25 and had never published anything before. His commander was stunned when he found out. Beautiful poetry and a man of remarkable scope and abilities. ...more
Jeremiah Johnson
Owen is one of my favorite poets. His work has inspired me since I first discovered him as a young teenager. Anyone serving in the military or considering serving should at least read 'Dulce et Decorum est' and contemplate the poem before making their final decision. And for all others who yearn to experience the workings and processes of the soldier Wilfred Owen offers a keen, if not horrificly insightful, window into the fields afar.
Deanne
Brilliant poet whose life was cut short like so many men at that time, remember studying Dulce et decorum est at school. Owen's description of a gas attack was so vivid and you can feel the panic. Years later I discovered that one of my great grandfather's had been involved in a gas attack in WWI, I don't know where or when, I only know that it resulted in his death at the age of 45 in 1939.
Now everytime I read that section I wonder about him.
Dave Wharton
It is fascinating and deeply poignant to witness Wilfred Owen's rapid progression from idealistic and patriotic young Army officer to disenchanted anti-war poet. Owen's later war poems - tragically few in number as they are - are as powerful and affecting a piece of anti-war literature as any I've read; poems that, like any great work of literature, transcend Owen's time and still deliver a strong message to a contemporary audience.
Anne Slater
I first read Owen over 50 years ago (in high school) and still shudder when I think of
"Red lips are not so red
as the stained stones kissed by the English dead"
which I learned then....

and others of his haunting poems.
I learned about "consonantal rhyme", about economy of language, about obliqueness and its opposite.

What can I say? Everyone should read Wilfred Owen.
Chris
I haven't read every poem in depth this is a great collection and Owen has an amazing story. He lends credit to his anti-war poetry by actually being a front-line soldier in WWI. Most people have read "Dulce et Decorum Est" in high school or collect..... If not, it can be found online and it's worth reading.
Liz Janet
For anyone out there that wishes to understand the effects of war in the minds of a young man, read his poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" as it is one of the greatest I have read, written in such a descriptive manner you feel as if you were the one dying in the trenches. Truly beautiful in the traumatic of it all.
J.A.
One of England's greatest war poets. He died in the last week of the Great War. He gave voice to the suffering in the trenches, the experience of shell shock, and the shift in perspective from a youth dreaming of glory to a man who knew what glory costs. What a waste.
Lisa Greer
Jan 04, 2008 Lisa Greer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: poets :)
Owen is not well enough known as a poet and as a poet of WWI. His poetry is raw and shocking, and I think he still rivals any poet I've ever read. I have memorized so many lines and whole poems of his almost effortlessly because they are that good: they stick.
Aspasia
I learned about WIlfred Owen in an English class I'm taking. He was a WWI soldier who became famous for his trench poetry; poetry that explored the horrors of war. Unfortunately, Owen was killed in November 1918 a week before Armistice Day (Veterans Day).
Kristopher
Wow. I've actually read three whole poetry books this year. And two of them of my own free will!

Here's my review at Guys Lit Wire.
Brenda Kittelty
Heartbreaking. Discovered Wilfred during high school Lit & History classes and began a life long love affair. So gratified that my 15 year old daughter is doing just the same thing, 30 years down the track.
Russ
Some striking and moving war poems show that Owen had amazing talent. Unfortunately, he died before he could accomplish a great body of work. The juvenalia included in this collection is mostly pedestrian.
Andrew
I'm not real big into poetry. Owen is known as one of the top military poets of WWI if not of all warfare. Poetry about such a terrible and ugly subject is interesting to say the least.
Mii
This book is a great read!
Shavit
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.


nuff said!
Sonia
A great poet, Wilfred Owen. Quite graphic, but realistic and inspirational war poetry. think: that song, "Hero of War" by Rise against. Much the same.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the goodreads data base.

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon and stood in stark contrast to both the public perception of war at t
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“The universal pervasion of ugliness, hideous landscapes, vile noises, foul language...everything. Unnatural, broken, blasted; the distortion of the dead, whose unburiable bodies sit outside the dug outs all day, all night, the most execrable sights on earth. In poetry we call them the most glorious.” 9 likes
“If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory
That old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
6 likes
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