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The Poetry of Wilfred Owen

            Wilfred Owen was a British war poet, born on the 18th of March 1893 in Owestry, Shropshire. He was the oldest of four children and was very close to his mother. Owen had a strict Anglican upbringing, and enjoyed more than anything reading a good book. He attended both Birkenhead Institute and Technical School in Shrewsbury, but failed to be accepted to London University. At the age of twenty, he left for France to teach at the Berlitz School of English. By this time Owen was experimenting with poetry and writing. Inspired by a visit to a hospital for those wounded in World War I, Owen enlisted in the Artists" Rifles in 1915 and saw his first action in 1917. In May 1917 Owen was diagnosed with shell shock and sent to Craiglockhart Hospital, where he befriended Siegfried Sassoon, an already reputable war poet. Sassoon introduced Owen to many other prominent literary figures. During this period of his life Owen wrote much of the poetry for which he is now known. His poetry was inspired by the war and he became a critic of the public illusions about the war. After returning to battle in late 1918 and receiving the military cross for bravery, Owen was killed in action. He was 25 and he died on November 4, 1918, only 7 days before the armistice. Although he is no longer alive, and WWI is long since over, Owen's poetry continues to make an impact on those who read it. Owen resented the war, and his poetry reveals the many aspects and reasons for this hatred.
             In his poem "The Letter," Owen reveals the truths about what the war was like for the soldiers. Only a man who experienced these events would be able to express them the way that Owen does. "The Letter" is written from the point of view of a soldier on the front. He is writing a letter to his wife at home. The poem starts, "With B.E.F. Jun 10. Dear Wife, / (Oh blast this pencil. "Ere, Bill, lend's a knife)" (Owen 1-2). Owen uses parenthesis to separate what the soldier is writing from what is happening to the soldier as he writes.

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