Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born on 18 March 1893 and died on 4 November 1918. He was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. His shocking, graphic poetry about the First World War was very heavily influenced by his friend, Siegfried Sassoon.
There was a vast contrast between his poetry about the war and that of others, such as Rupert Brooke, as his took on a completely different perspective, and showed the readers a whole new side of the war. This wasn’t how he always looked at the war though. It was out of his own free choice that he joined the army, but it was two traumatic experiences that caused his view point to change so drastically. Firstly, he was thrown into the air when hit by a trench mortar and landed in the remains of a fellow soldier. Then, he was trapped for days in a German dugout. It was these two horrible experiences that caused his dramatic change of mind, and caused him to suffer from ‘shell shock’, which led to him being sent to a hospital for treatment. That was where he met fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon, and this meeting changed his life.
In March 1918, he was sent to a command depot in Ripon, and here, a number of poems were written. After he had recovered, he was sent back to the front line, and tragically, a mere week before the war ended, he was shot in the head and died.
Owen started writing poems long before the war, and he stated that he started at the age of ten. His friend, Siegfried Sassoon had a large effect on his poetry, especially in ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ and ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’. These show direct results of Sassoon’s influence. A poem by Pat Barker was written about their relationship.
His poetry changed significantly in 1917, where as part of his therapy his doctor got him to write his experiences down into poems. Though thousands of poems were published during the war, very few were acknowledged, and even fewer were loved, but Owen was one of them. Only...
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