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The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen (New Directions Book) Paperback – January 17, 1965
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Top Customer Reviews
From the opening declaration " Above all, I am not concerned with Poetry... My subject is War, and the pity of War..." through the dreamlike madness of "Strange Meeting" to the elegiac fury of "Anthem for Doomed Youth", Owen hones the poetic craft he learned as a juvenile romantic versifier into a rapier on which he skewers the futility of the war, the blind official stupidity which kept it going, and the inhumanity shown by each side to its own men as well as the enemy.
Killed in action not long before the Armistice, Owen saw little publication of his work. However, his verse- carefully arranged, meticulously researched and documented by Cecil Day Lewis- is not only his epitaph. As relevant and affecting today as in 1918, it's as fine a counter-argument as any ever written against those who dismiss poetry as flowery nonsense. And for the rest of us? Few media can express the true nature and terrible costs of the First World War as eloquently as poetry at its finest can- and Owen provides it in plenty.
'Anthem for Doomed Youth' may just be the most powerful of all anti-war poems, and it was voted 8th in a list of Britain's favourite poems in a BBC poll. This poem like Owen's work generally is written in an unpretentious style. His poetry is very moving, but without being sentimental. He's painting pictures with words, and the pictures aren't pretty.
All his renowned work is here, including 'Dulce et Decorum est', 'Disabled', and 'Mental Cases'. The notes are very interesting, as you'd expect from a literary heavyweight like C. Day Lewis, and there's also some of Owen's non war poetry, but that's still bleak!
If you want to buy any book of Owen's work, I'd recommend this one for starters.
In places, Owen gives us the guns of war--brutal, percussive descriptions of death as in "Anthem"; in other places, Owen laments delicately as in "Futility" (pg. 135) which is difficult to read without becoming tearful.
Owen shows us a world "wound with war's hard wire" that is "but the trembling of a flare," but Owen also perceives beauty "in hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight" and even finds peace "where shell storms spouted reddest spate."
Owen did not believe that we could fully understand war except we share in the "sorrowful dark of hell" as he experienced it. For we civilians who, thanks to brave soldiers, have not experienced war first-hand, Wilfred Owen brings us as near as we may possibly get.
For me, Owen is the greatest poet ever to write about war. His poetry articulates the duality of "war's hard wire"--the barbs of painful experience and the strong wire that binds our hearts in fellowship and in the "silentness of duty."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting Poets view of WW1. Sad he did not survive the war and write more.Published 5 days ago by Peter Suutari
Wilfred Owen is one of the greatest of 20th century poets. His war poems are powerful and haunting. I have not read them in years but remembered their power. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Douglas A. Haff
To read these poems is to realise the the toll in War takes of so many young people.Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
One the all-time greatest war poets, and great poet in general. So highly recommended for anyone who wants to read intense and honest poetry. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kristin Davisson
This is a group of stunningly beautiful poems by probably the top World War 1 combat soldier poet.Published 22 months ago by wmackay