Political Poems: 'Strange Meeting' by Wilfred Owen

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford

Wilfred Owen wrote ‘Strange Meeting’ in the early months of 1918, shortly after being treated for shell shock at Craiglockhart hospital in Edinburgh, where he had met the stridently anti-war Siegfried Sassoon. Sassoon's poetry of caustic realism quickly found its way into Owen’s work, where it merged with the high romantic sublime of his other great influences, Keats and Shelley. Mark and Seamus discuss the unstable mixture of these forces and the innovative use of rhyme in a poem where the politics is less about ideology or argument than an intuitive response to the horror of war.

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