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The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen (New Directions Book) Paperback – January 17, 1965

4.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This definitive edition of Owen's poetry, based on a close study of the ms. sources in the British Museum and elsewhere, contains a selection of the poet's juvenilia and several other unpublished poems, as well as those which have appeared in the editions edited by Siegfried Sassoon and Edmund Blunden.

About the Author

Edmund Blunden (1896-1974) was already a published poet when he was commissioned as an officer of the British Army during World War I. The author of several volumes of poetry and literary criticism, he went on to hold academic posts at Tokyo University and the University of Oxford after his military service.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; Revised edition (January 17, 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811201325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811201322
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jonathan T. Smillie on March 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
War and poetry- two concepts infrequently mentioned, much less allied, in the same breath. Yet during World War I a number of writers took the horrific experiences of the Western Front and turned them into some of the twentieth century's finest, most disturbing poetry. Among these "war poets", Wilfred Owen is indisputably one of the greatest.

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.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book, and one of the most powerful collections of anti-war poems ever put together. Wilfred Owen was not a man who was describing war from the safety of his own home. He was in the thick of it, and he paid the ultimate price.
'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.
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Here in this book you will find some of the finest poetry that any author from Britain has ever produced. Owen writes with style and uses words in such a beautiful way that one can only wonder how he was able to do it. His non-war poems are just as astounding as his war poems and this collection is great for any reader of poetry. Highly recommended, this book will not dissapoint.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At last, a good edition of Owen's poems! This one has a table of contents that works properly, and the poems are sensibly formatted. It is a pleasure to use and includes all Owen's best-known poems. I'd have given five stars except that, curiously, Owen's preface to his work is mis-formatted so that it is laid out like a poem instead of prose. But this is only a minor niggle (though perhaps one that can be fixed in a future edition?)
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I tell everyone if it's possible to have a crush on a long gone WWI soldier and poet, I have done it. I love these poems. Owen's skill and heart shine through. I am moved each time I read my favorites and amazed at his talent. Current world events could be weighed in a better totality with a reading of these poems and Owen's distaste for war and realistic depiction of its costs. Every time I hear a politician mention the distancing phrase "boots on the ground" I think of Owen and how he can tell them a thing or two about the souls who actually fill those boots.
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Owen's work was featured as The Poetry Foundation's Poem of the Day and I immediately sought out the book. I was so intrigued that I also picked up "The Poetry Of Shell Shock: Wartime Trauma And Healing In Wilfred Owen, Ivor Gurney And Siegfried Sassoon" by Daniel Hipp. Both are fascinating reads, and give great insight into the mind of a soldier.
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This was a horrible war and its largely forgotten today. That anybody could think of writing poetry while having German machine gun bullets, shells and mustard or chlorine gas as part of your daily routine is beyond understanding. "Dulce et Decorum Est" should be required memorization in school for anybody who speaks English. This was 100 years ago. Humanity as a race has advanced little if at all in that time.
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Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, war is an unmitigated part of the human experience.

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."
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