I have found in this edition a number of poems which I failed to find in any other collection of his works. Some of these poems included in this edition are less well known than "Strange Meeting" and "Anthem for Doomed Youth". The introduction offered is enlightening and informative, which I found useful in my study of Owen's work. Owen is by far one of the best poets of his time and of the 20th century, and this collection offers the best of his poetry. The collection is poignantly concluded with "Strange Meeting" which was his last work, the one he never lived to complete. I recommend this collection to all those who admire his poems and/or have been seeking some of his rarer pieces.
The wonderful, moving poetry of Wilfred Owen is wonderful to read. one criticism is that the last line of the first verse of 'Dulce Et Decorurum Est is different in this version than that of the Open University, which I presume is more likely to be correct.
If there ever could be such a thing as objectively good literature, this would get my vote. I cannot think of any other collection of poetry that moves me with so much immediacy, vigour, fortitude and dignity. For my part, I feel somewhat ashamed that I cannot read 'Dolce et Decorum Est', even to myself, without being overwhelmed. I have yet to be able to intone this poem without my voice cracking as the emotions overtake me. This is not poetry for the faint-hearted.
I am no pacifist and I deeply respect those who are willing to fight for our freedoms, but that doesn't mean that I have any eagerness for conflict - far from it. There is a wonderful line from Thomas Paine 'If there's going to be a war, let it be now while I'm young so that my child may live in peace.' But to quote Paine in this regard does an injustice to Owen and to Paine. The First World War was a blasphemy by any stretch of the imagination. It was, to my historically barely literate understanding, an imploding of European powers fighting for their own self interest, not a war of emancipation such as Paine was invoking.
The essence of totalitarianism is in the abnegation of poetry, not just in the literal, but in the metaphorical sense as well. Our lives. Our poetry.
If you are unfamiliar with Owen's poetry, may I urge you to try this book. It is more powerful and direct than I can convey. It is, in my opinion, one of the greatest works of literature and, for this reader at least, genuinely and greatly humbling.
I own a book of Owen's poems and bought this for a friend who became interested in the war poets of the time. Like me he had never read any poet in this group, only hearing about them. He like me, felt that he wanted to read at least one poet writing about this period as we have heard so much in recent years about this dreadful war and the terrible waste of life.
Though I have a vast collection of books, I can count on the fingers of one hand the books that I have on poetry. However, if I come across any poet that reflects the harsh realities of life, then there's a good chance that I'll go in search of their work.
Wilfred Owen is one such poet. Despite the tumult that surrounded him in the first world war, he had the state of mind to record the horrors of battle through his poetry, so that those of us who truly love literature can try to make sense of the appalling actions of armed conflict and bloodshed (the sign of a great writer).
I don't have a favourite poem, but there were one or two that stood out, the first one was called, 'Last Laugh', and the much heralded 'dulce et decorum'.
Having read it before giving it as a gift to a young boy studying Owen at school, felt I should have come to this long before now. Had visited the Wilfred Owen Museum in Birkenhead (Owen was born and went to school there) then went to see the play about his life. This was disappointing but still an opportunity for someone to speak out his poetry