Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918)
Key words – poetry, World War One, realism, English, LGBT
Who? – Wilfred Owen was a young man when he enlisted in the British army during World War One. After one traumatic incident he was diagnosed with shell shock and sent to recover at the Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh where he befriended one of his idols, Siegfried Sassoon. He returned to active service in 1918 and was killed one week before the signing of the Armistice ended the war. Only five of his poems were published before his death.
What? – Owen’s early work was heavily influenced by the Romantic poets and John Keats in particular, but he developed his own style under the influence of Sassoon. He was encouraged to work through his experiences through writing as part of his therapy at Craiglockhart. The Romantic influences were still there, but Owen combined them with a harsh and at times shocking realism.
Where Do I Start? – Poems of Wilfred Owen (ed. John Stallworthy)
Best Known Work? – “Dulce Et Decorum Est”
You might also enjoy – Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, Ivor Gurney, John Keats
Further reading -
Book Review: The Poems of Wilfred Owen (ed. John Stallworthy), Wilfred Owen