You can discover a lot about a poem by comparing it to one by another author that deals with a similar subject. You could compare features such as theme, form, structure, rhythm, language and figures of speech.

The key thing to do when comparing poems is to note the points where they are similar and the points where they differ. You could make a list noting similarities and differences between the two poems.

Comparison of 'Exposure' by Wilfred Owen and 'What Were They Like?' by Denise Levertov


  • Both poems consider the effects of war.
  • Both poets are angry about what has happened.
  • Both poems were written at a time when war was dominating the news – Owen’s during World War One and Levertov’s during the Vietnam War.
  • Questions are a dominant feature of both poems. They are designed to make the reader think.
  • Both writers make use of alliteration to draw attention to particularly important parts of the poems.


  • Wilfred Owen writes about the effect war has on his immediate comrades. Denise Levertov writes about the effects on a whole nation and its culture.
  • Owen writes from the perspective of someone who was actively involved in the war. Levertov commentates from outside the direct experience.
  • Owen uses a regular poetic form of five line stanzas. Levertov uses two blocks of free verse to structure her poem.

Explore the study guide for 'What Were They Like?'.

Try comparing Exposure to these other poems:

  • Remains by Simon Armitage
  • Anthem For Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen

Explore the study guide for 'Remains'.