Wilfred Owen

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the celebrated British poet of World War One. Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) had published only a handful of poems when he was killed a week before the end of the war, but in later decades he became seen as the essential British war poet. His works such as Anthem for Doomed Youth, Strange Meeting and Dulce et Decorum Est went on to be inseparable from the memory of the war and its futility. However, while Owen is best known for his poetry of the trenches, his letters offer a more nuanced insight into him such as his pride in being an officer in charge of others and in being a soldier who fought alongside his comrades.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Jane Potter No other episodes
    Reader in The School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University
  • Fran Brearton 4 episodes
    Professor of Modern Poetry at Queen's University Belfast
  • Guy Cuthbertson No other episodes
    Professor of British Literature and Culture at Liverpool Hope University

Reading list

  • The Regeneration Trilogy
    Pat Barker (Penguin, 2014) Google Books →
  • Wilfred Owen
    Guy Cuthbertson (Yale University Press, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to the Poetry of the First World War
    Santanu Das (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2014) Google Books →
  • Touch and Intimacy in First World War Literature
    Santanu Das (Cambridge University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • Siegfried Sassoon: A Biography
    Max Egremont (Picador, 2006) Google Books →
  • Wilfred Owen: A New Biography
    Dominic Hibberd (Phoenix, 2003) Google Books →
  • Owen the Poet
    Dominic Hibberd (Macmillan, 1986) Google Books →
  • Modern English War Poetry
    Tim Kendall (Oxford University Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • The Oxford Handbook of British and Irish War Poetry
    Tim Kendall (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • Selected Letters
    Wilfred Owen (ed. John Bell) (Oxford University Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • The War Poems of Wilfred Owen
    Wilfred Owen (ed. Jon Stallworthy) (Chatto and Windus, 1994) Google Books →
  • Wilfred Owen: An Illustrated Life
    Jane Potter and Jon Stallworthy (Bodleian Library, 2014) Google Books →
  • Strange Meetings: The Poets of the Great War
    Harry Ricketts (Chatto, 2010) Google Books →
  • Wilfred Owen: A Biography
    Jon Stallworthy (Oxford University Press, 1974) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m001df48

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001df48

Auto-category: 821.912 (English poetry–20th century)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, Wilfred Owen, the great war poet, was killed on the 4th of November 1918, seven days before the armistice.