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The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  5,132 ratings  ·  215 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 1918)
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Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Reposted November 4th, 2018 - in memory of November 4th, 1918, the poet's last battle!

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
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-one
I make no apology for starting with one of Owen’s more well-known poems 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 gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
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
I have a love-hate for war poetry.

It is the only art form that exists wherein people have to die, in droves; where death is legion. The greater the number of people that die, the better the poetry. The more that it is a cruel and senseless death, the better the poetry. The more pointless it is, the better the poetry. For every such point, a cruel counterpoint, so that the impact is felt in the heart. And in the solar plexus.

If you don't feel it in the solar plexus, if it doesn't make you short
I have alway loved the poetry of Wilfred Owen, the power of his words are haunting and honest from a man that was suffering through the trenches and all its horrors of WWI. This book gave me more of insight into the man and his relationship plus just a few things that where happening around the time as each poem was written. This was a really good book to read over time.
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
"surely we have perished / sleeping, and walk hell"
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
His fingers wake, and flutter up the bed.
His eyes come open with a pull of will,
Helped by the yellow may-flowers by his head.
A blind-cord drawls across the window-sill . . .
How smooth the floor of the ward is! what a rug!
And who's that talking, somewhere out of sight?
Why are they laughing? What's inside that jug?
"Nurse! Doctor!" "Yes; all right, all right.

(Excerpt fromConscious.)

Wilfred Owen wrote about World War I the way he experienced it—tough, tearing, bloody, and strewn with broken bodies
Liz Janet
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Adam Ford
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Sotiris Karaiskos
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
At the end of this series of my readings about World War I, I could not omit some of the well-known anti-war poems written by soldiers at that time. Perhaps the best-known of these poets is Wilfred Owen, who fought until his tragic death just before the end of the war, and his poems are considered to be some of the best of British literature. I certainly am not the most competent to judge their value but I can say that I found many of these war poems really staggering. I was particularly ...more
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Joseph Spuckler
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Amanda Alice
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, poetry
Absolutely brilliant.
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wilfred-owen, poetry
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
Pam P
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Noah Goats
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first Wilfred Owen poem I ever read was the first one anybody ever reads: “Dulce et Decorum est.” It was in high school, and I was already a history reading nerd by then, so I knew a bit about WWI. But when I read Owen’s poem I felt and understood the war in a way historical accounts and even All Quiet on the Western Front couldn’t convey to me. In just a few brutal lines Owen brings home the ugly brutality of a gas attack, pulling off war’s romantic mask and revealing it for what it really ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Very beautiful poems, touching and written in a very real manner. As the preface to this book says, it is a shame that he died in the war (especially that close to the end) for he surely had his best works still ahead of him. The war matured him and his poetry, which is also visible in this book due to the inclusion of many of his early poems.

My one criticism is of the book itself: following every poem there are a few annotations with excerpts from letters or different drafts, often with the
Dave Maddock
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The imagery from Dulce et Decorum Est will haunt me for a long time. His use of consonantal rhyme is distinctive and beautifully deployed in service to his themes.
D.D. Price
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...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
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.

Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"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
Jul 22, 2012 rated it liked it
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,
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.
My decision to read this collection of poems was a spur of the moment decision. I haven’t read any poetry outside of high-school English class, but I figured I should expand my literary horizons, and since I’ve been reading about World War I, I supposed I would find Wilfred Owen’s poetry to be of interest.

I’m afraid my enjoyment of these poems suffered due to my lack of experience reading poetry as well as the mundane subject matter of many of his early works. However, there are certainly some
Carl Waluconis
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Poetry lovers and anti-war campaigners
Shelves: poetry
I read a free download version, and also found all poems missing from that version online. There are really not that many effective anti-war poems. These are among the best, and are now over 100 years old. Owen does some different sorts of things with rhyme. His selection of images is intense and in-your-face. "Strange Meeting" is one of the poems you are most likely to come across. It is set in a place after death where those from both sides meet. Even today we tend to separate the dead ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Grim and miserable, like all the other WW1 poets, but more relatable than some of the others.
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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
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.” 58 likes
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