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Selected Poems

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  4,384 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
Wilfred Owen left home in Shrewsbury in 1911, at the age of eighteen, to become lay assistant to the vicar of a country parish; seven years later, having won an MC for gallantry, he was killed in action. This selection from the full 1967 edition of his letters includes some early examples, but concentrates on the last seven years of his short life. His letters - almost all ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published August 17th 1995 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 1918)
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Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry
I have been circling around World War I for a while now, reading novels that were published around 1915, such as The Voyage Out or Of Human Bondage, and poetry that referred back to that breaking point in history, for example Duffy's Last Post.

As "Dulce Et Decorum Est" is one of my all time favourite poems (if you can say that about something as sad and scary as those lines), I have been meaning to dig deeper into Owen's reflections for a long time.

I find it hard to describe my feelings toward
Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕
I've started reading WW1 poetry every year at this time, last year it was Rupert Brooke Rupert Brooke this year I have sampled one of the most famous anti-war poets of them all, Wilfred Owen. Wilfred Owen

Read his Wikipedia page - his experiences were horrifying and he was killed in action a week before the Armistice. I'm going to be presumptuous and assume that this talented, sensitive young man would literally have been a shellshocked wreck if he survived. How could he not be?

From his most famous poem Dulce et Decoru
Liz Janet
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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.
Dulce Et Decorum Est read by Christopher Eccleston
Deborah Pickstone
Umpteenth re-read of some of the most powerful poetry ever written and a big reason I am a committed pacifist since I first read this collection as a child.
Yara (The Narratologist)
Here is what you need to know about Wilfred Owen: he died too soon.

Owen was twenty-five years old when he was killed in action, exactly one week before the signing of the Armistice would end the war. This means that all of his poems only fill up one 192-page collection (unfinished bits and pieces included) and it is not enough.

The first sixty pages or so are taken up by poems Owen wrote in his youth. Most of these are stylistic exercises, practice runs as he was trying to find his own voice. Th
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, wilfred-owen
For me this remains the definitive edition of Wilfred Owen’s work. Of course there are other more complete books of his poems and his letters but my rather dog-eared copy of Dominic Hibberd’s edition was the one which introduced me to Wilfred Owen at school and led me to a lifetime of reading and re-reading these poems.

The photograph on the cover is of Owen in uniform and was taken in July 1916. To me as a schoolgirl he seemed stern and serious. Now he looks remarkably young. This book begins wi
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, poetry
Not poetry for poetry, but poetry expressing sorrow and futility of war.

"Earth's wheels run oiled with blood."

"Happy are those who lose imagination: They have enough to carry with ammunition."

Owen died on November 4, 1918 exactly one week before the armistice, almost to the hour. His mother received the telegram informing her of his death as the church bells were ringing, celebrating the end of the war.
Rachel Louise Atkin
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
His poems are beautiful okay.
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
D.D. Price
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books, war
I never knew I liked poetry. Not until I discovered the poems of Wilfred Owen. So often I’ve read poems and thought that kind of sounds nice, but I forgot the poem soon afterwards and didn’t really think about it. It’s not that I didn’t like the poem. It’s just that the poem wasn’t really striking to me. Not so with Wilfred Owen. The images he conjures are so vivid that it puts you there on the battlefield, experiencing the horrors of war. If I were to use one word to describe it then I would sa ...more
Bryan Worra
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This particular edition provides an excellent range of footnotes to put many of the particular poems of Owen's into context.

On New Year's Eve 1917, Owen wrote: "I go out of this year a Poet, my dear Mother, as which I did not enter it. I am held peer by the Georgians; I am a poet's poet."

Nearly a century later, time has proven him write and he still speaks to many of us. Most of us are familiar with his poem "Dulce et Decorum est." In some ways, I do feel a pity that we don't look to his work
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
Wilfred Owen was the first poet to make me even interested in the genre, which I suppose some people would find to be as a bit of a surprise. For the longest time, the genre intimidated me, but then a friend started talking about how Owen twisted his words and the poignant sadness of his short life's tale, and I reasoned, "Why not?" So I nosed around the Poetry Foundation and found a few I rather liked. Later, I picked up this chapbook from Project Gutenberg. It was a wise decision.

Naturally, so
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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:

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

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.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem
Stephen Patrick
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came across Wilfred Owen while researching my novel set in WW1. his poetry is beautiful, haunting, and timeless, but somehow very approachable. The pain and anguish he brings to his most powerful pieces shook me and the beauty of his words made me feel like I was talking to an old friend trying to deal with terrible tragedy. Like Sigfriend Sassoon, his "on-the-ground" poetry does more for describing the soldier's experience than any reported account could dare.
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Too real to stand much, the truth of war untold is.
Pam P
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Absolutely beautiful. Each and every word pierces you. I'm so glad I got to read Owen's works after persistence from those around me. I don't really read a lot of poetry but when I do it affects me. It's mesmerizing, deep and soulful. Many of them are related to war though which i try not to flinch at. My favourite poem so far is probably Storm because of it's complexity while being simple and the richness of language. It's over whelming to say the least.

His face was charges with beauty as a cl
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It breaks my heart everytime I read these poems. And the fact that Owen experienced the horror of war himself makes his writing even more chilling. I can't choose a favorite because essentially, all of them tell different stories that can be linked to the different times in Owen's life, whether it was during his naivety of war or during his actual experience of war. Each poem is special in their own way thus they hold a special place in my heart but I will say, Disabled made me tear up a bit and ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am humbled by his words and craft, and grateful for his ability to bring his emotions and the time alive to me. The emotions are timeless. And his time and place, not one to be forgotten. I do not immediately embrace poetry, but in Owen, I found a quick friend... one I would like to share a share pint with, one I would like to hold in friendship through his horrors.
Chris Allan
Dec 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing British poet that really shook things up with his angry verses. He was after all there in the thick of it watching men die all around him, as more were sent to take their place. Owen, Sassoon and Graves are all worth reading to express the hell the men had to experience.
Rumsha Aqeel
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Mental Cases" is one of the most haunting poems I've come across to date. I would heartily recommend this to any poetry fan, but most especially to those who appreciate this collection's inherent historicity.
Farah Hamandi
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
touching and simply brilliant.... i have never though that i will sympathize with the poor devastated soldiers after reading his poems. all the respect for him and all the innocent soldiers who died in a war that they resent..
Stephen Moore
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is it perverse to describe Wilfred Owen, a poet of the First World War, as my favourite...? Somehow the word does not fit. But there it is. Without reservation his war poems are a masterpiece. Difficult, graphic, accessible, relevant...
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Wonderful. Extraordinary. Memorable.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
One can detect the makings a great poet in these few verses of Wilfred Owen. Such a shame to be cut off in his prime.
Stephen Hicks
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wilfred Owen is considered by many to be one of the best modern war poets to have ever put pen to paper. He fought and died in World War One and wrote his best work during his time in the trenches. His poems depicting the war are brutal, honest, and humane. They mock the sentimentality that was present on the homefront. They plead for a cessation of violence. They wrestle with the motives to wage war and participate in one. And perhaps most importantly they tell a story of the horror and carnage ...more
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Owen strongly expresses about disenchantment of war but with a rare and unique perspective of a soldier unlike others as an observer. This angle of writing creates the understanding of the psyche and emotional tearing of soldier inside out. Here the thought of soldier as a victim is more emphasized rather that of being victor or hero of war. A covert sarcasm mixed with humor supplemented with pity in form of poetry of despair is found in every passing lines.
Dulce et decorum, Anthem for doomed y
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  • The War Poems
  • The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry
  • In Parenthesis
  • World War One British Poets: Brooke, Owen, Sassoon, Rosenberg and Others
  • The Collected Poems
  • Undertones of War
  • The Great War and Modern Memory
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Complete Poems (Poetry Library)
  • The Complete English Poems
  • A Shropshire Lad
  • Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness
  • The Selected Poems of Tu Fu
  • One Hundred Poems from the Chinese
  • Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library)
  • Collected Poems, 1912-1944
  • The Oxford Book of War Poetry
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
More about Wilfred Owen...
Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
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,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
“Red lips are not so red as the stained stones kissed by the English dead.” 46 likes
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