Wilfred Owen's First World War poetry launches on new computer app

Posted on centenarynews.com on 13 July 2014
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The First World War poems of Wilfred Owen, including Anthem for Doomed Youth and Dulce et Decorum Est, are explored on a newly launched computer application.

Forty five works by Owen can be heard on the app developed by Ian Bennett, lecturer in film and media at Anglia-Ruskin University in Cambridge.

The poems are accompanied by illustrations reflecting their tone, as well as expert commentary from academic specialists in the literature of the Great War.

During development of the project, Ian Bennett told Centenary News: "Owen was such a towering figure that it was felt that his work should be brought into a digital age. 

"For those studying the topic or whose interest has been sparked by the forthcoming commemorative events, this app will provide a rich and engaging experience, one that will 'breathe' additional life into an already powerful and emotive set of work."

He also explained why all of the poems are read by women: "The poems were assumed to have been sent home rather like a letter and that the first person, in all probability to read them would be a maternal or close female figure for whom the words were acting like a window onto the young man's world, fighting in a remote battlefield."

Wilfred Owen was killed in action at the age of 25, just one week before the Armistice in 1918. He'd returned to the Western Front after treatment for shell shock.

Ian Bennett has spent more than a year working on the app dedicated to Owen's powerful and haunting poetry.

He told Centenary News: "Not only am I very excited to announce the publishing of the app but to also express my sincere thanks to all those readers and academics who helped me realise this project."

The app enjoys the support of the Wilfred Owen Association and the poet's nephew, Peter Owen, who writes in an introduction: "Wilfred would, I feel, be basking in all the attention and adulation his poetry now receives throughout the world.

"As we know his great concern was to be recognised by his poetry peers. Now Wilfred is simply recognised for his poetry."

Owen, by Ian Bennett, is available for tablet devices on the App Store.

Source: Ian Bennett, Anglia-Ruskin University, Cambridge

Images courtesy of Ian Bennett

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News