Owen's poetry


Recommended if you wish to read more about Owen’s life in the trenches

  • Wilfred Owen by Jon Stallworthy (1974)
  • Wilfred Owen: A New Biography by Dominic Hibberd (Nov 2003)
  • Wilfred Owen Association: an accessible account of the life and poetry http://www.wilfredowen.org.uk


  • True Measure of Man: Letters and Poems of Wilfred Owen by Robert Hardy and Tim McInnerny (Mar 1993)
  • Wilfred Owen: The War Poems ed. Jon Stallworthy. Pub. Chatto & Windus 2007
  • The First World War Poetry Digital Archive from Oxford University’s collection of poems http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/collections/owen

Anthologies of war poetry

A selection of the work by other poets writing at the same time as Owen about the First World War:

  • Hear My Cry: edited by Carolyn Armitage 2014
        ‘Words for when there are no words to commemorate the start of WW1.’
  • Scars Upon My Heart edited by Catherine Reilly 2006
        An anthology of poetry written by women who lived and wrote through WW1
  • The Winter of the World edited by Dominic Hibberd 2007
        An anthology with a wide range of war poems. The title is taken from Owen’s poem 1914
  • Up the Line to Death edited by Brian Gardner 1964
        Poems are arranged in chronological order and under headings. There is an international range of poets represented
  • The BBC Guide to War Poetry presents a useful debate on the influence of the War poets on modern thinking


  • Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves 1929
        Graves’ own account of WW1


  • Great Britain’s Great War by Jeremy Paxman 2013
        Paxman writes about the reasons for the war and the impact it had on life in Britain
  • Somme by Lynne MacDonald 1983
        Tells the story of Owen’s war
  • The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman 1962
        A clear outline of the causes of WW1
  • BBC World History: a clear outline of what happened in 1914-1918


The following are arranged alphabetically:

  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque 1929
        Translated from German. The experience for German and Allied troops at the front line was extremely similar
  • Birdsong by Sebastian Faulkes
        A novel about the Somme
  • Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon p1930
        A fictionalized version of Sassoon’s experiences in WW1 
  • Not So Quiet: Stepdaughters of War by Helen Zenna Smith Pub. 1930
        Tells the story of women and girls who served as ambulance drivers on The Western Front
  • Private Peaceful and War Horse Michael Morpurgo
        Although written for children these stories are a good way of reading about WW1
  • Regeneration Pat Barker 1991
        Novel based on the work of Dr Rivers at Craiglockhart where Owen and Sassoon met
  • Strange Meeting Susan Hill 1974
        The title is taken from Owen’s poem of that name


The following are arranged chronologically:

  • Black ‘ell by Mile Mallison, 1917
        A powerful, one act play unusual because it was written during WW1
        You can read this on line: https://openlibrary.org/books/OL13996673M

  • Journey’s End: R. C. Sherrif 1928
        A play about officers in the trenches, it was received badly when first performed for being unpatriotic and anti-war. It has been made into a film
  • Oh, What a Lovely War! Joan Littlewood 1963
        A stage musical by Joan Littlewood based on the radio musical A Long Long Trail by Charles Chilton which used the first-hand experience of men who fought on the front line. In WW1. It carries a powerful anti-war message
  • Accrington Pals by Peter Whelan 1982
        The smallest town in England to raise a pals’ battalion. The story of ordinary people: men at the Somme and women at home.
  • My Boy Jack by David Haig 1997
        This play is about Rudyard Kipling and his son John (Jack) who was killed at the Somme. The title is taken from Kipling’s moving poem ‘My Son Jack’

  • War Horse based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel of the same name
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-bni4QqSv4 based on the novel about WW1.


The following are arranged chronologically:



  • War Requiem: Benjamin Britten 1962
        Britten used Owen’s poems in his Requiem. The link is to What Passing Bells based on Anthem for Doomed Youth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL4Jj4cDYj4
  • Standing in Line Coope, Boyes and Simpson
        Private Peaceful, based on Morpurgo’s novel. Coope, Boyes and Simpson 2006
  • Only Remembered
        These songs are about the men who were killed on the front sung by grandsons and great nephews who knew those they left behind
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