Facts about Wilfred Owen
- Wilfred Owen (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918) is best known as one of the most powerful war poets, who depicted the reality and horrors of the First World War.
- Owen was influenced by the great romantic poets of Keats, Byron, Shelly, Coleridge and Wordsworth.
- When war broke out, Owen was teaching in France. He even considered joining the French army, but joined the British army in 1915.
- Owen's first experience of the war was in hospitals treating the wounded soldiers - often without anaesthetic.
- Wilfred Owen was was invalided out of army in 1916 suffering from shell shock.
- Recuperating in an Edinburgh hospital, Wilfred Owen became close friends with poet Siegfried Sassoon. Sassoon played a key role in encouraging the young war poet.
- When Owen returned to the front in 1918, he hid the fact from his friend Siegfried Sassoon, who didn't want him to return.
- His poem 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' is one of the best known war poems of all time.
- In his preface to his collection of war poetry, Owen writes this fitting analogy:
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
'My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.'
- His famous poem "Dulce et Decorum est" takes its first line from a poem of Horace.
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
- Wilfred Owen was killed in battle during the last month of the war - November 1918. His parents received a telegram on Armistice day 1918.
- After his death he was awarded the Military Cross. Owen wanted this medal to make his anti-war poetry appear even stronger..
- Wilfred Owen is buried between two privates in the corner of a village cemetery at Ors. His grave is marked with a simple cross and gravestone.
- His life and relationship with Siegfried Sassoon is the subject of Pat Barker's 1991 historical novel Regeneration
- More on Wilfred Owen at Biography of Wilfred Owen
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