“He became the quintessential war poet, certainly in a British context. Not during his lifetime. But in England, Owen is a poet that everyone will have encountered in some way. Owen’s poetry sometimes gets described as ‘anti-war’. I don’t think I’d go that far. It’s important to note that he was not a conscientious objector, he was in uniform. He won a Military Cross. So he was actually quite a successful soldier, later on in his service. But he is a poet who highlights the horror of the war for many people, and is sceptical of ideas of heroism, service, duty, and all those other concepts brought to the fore by the government, church, and the right-wing press in terms of encouraging people to join up. It combines realism—an almost journalistic, unblinking focus on the realities—with very poetic language, which partly came from the strong influence of the Romantics.” Read more...
The best books on Poetry of the First World War