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Prince William launches ‘modern-day’ Wilfried Owen poetry competition

Wilfried Owen will always be remembered, by the young and old, as the greatest poet-fighter of the First World War. His famous line “My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity’’- inscribed on a memorial in the Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey- perfectly captures a life full of battlefield-inspired sentiments.

With a mission to revive those memories, Prince William has officially kicked off the search for the modern-day Wilfried Owen, as he announced the launch a new competition to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. The competition is created by the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC), which is celebrating opening a new clinical rehabilitation centre for the Armed Forces in the Midlands.

‘A Poem to Remember’, the name of the new competition, will seek to reflect today’s understanding of service and humanity’s readiness to overcome challenges.

Revealing that he will read out the winning entry himself, the Duke of Cambridge, the Patron of the DNRC campaign, spoke of his admiration of wartime poetry.

He said, “The centenary year of the end of the First World War is a very appropriate year to be launching a national poetry prize.

“Many of the memories of that conflict, and our understanding of it, have been shaped by the remarkable works of poetry written by those caught in that struggle.

“I, like countless other readers over the decades since the war, have always been moved by sentiments invoked by the brave young soldiers. I am delighted to help launch this competition to find a new poem that, inspired by those earlier works, will have its own modern-day perspective on service, conflict and humankind’s ability to overcome adversity.”

Submission for the best poem will be made until 9 April before the shortlist is announced in May. The winner of the competition will be announced at a special event in the new facilities this summer and will receive £2,000 cash prize.

The majority of Owen’s most famous works was published after his death on the battlefield in France only one week before the Armistice in 1918.


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