Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen

Wilfren Owen (1893-1918). Wilfred Owen was born in Shropshire, England

but spend most of his youth in Liverpool. He concluded his studies at London University. He began working as an English tutor for a family in France but returned to England to volunteer for the army and fight in the First World War where he was involved in the horrific trench of the western front. He was traumatised by shell shock and sent to recover in a war hospital in Scotland where he met with Siegfried Sassoon. Owen recovered for his trauma, then returned to fight on the front. He was tragically killed just one week before the end of the war.

Wilfred Owen belongs to a group of poet known as the “war poets”. Their poetry focuses on the brutality and tragedy of war, completely different from the images and attitude “sold” by the propaganda. Only Rupert Brook expresses the old, traditional, patriotic view of war in his poetry, because he was the only war poet who did not take part in any fighting. Although Wilfred Owen died so young he left a significant mark on English literature. Although none of his poetry was published during his lifetime, his friend Siegfried Sassoon edited a collection which was published in 1920 as “Poems”.

Poems. There is no honour or glory in Owen’s poetry but only what he called “the pity of war”. The fact that he was experiencing the events himself gave him his creative powers. He was able to produce work which was evocative, passionate and personal. His poetry is full of irony and distrust for the traditions of establishments which lead men to believe that there is glory in war. His was a modern vision of war. His poetry expresses compassion for all senseless human suffering.
His poetry was also technically innovative in its original use of alliteration, internal rhyme, pararhyme and off-rhyme (the rhyme syllables are similar but the sounds produced are different). He also used a variety of tones from the strongly satirical to the colloquial.

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