Publisher: First Second Books
Release Date: July 15th, 2014
As the Great War dragged on and its catastrophic death toll mounted, a new artistic movement found its feet in the United Kingdom. The Trench Poets, as they came to be called, were soldier-poets dispatching their verse from the front lines. Known for its rejection of war as a romantic or noble enterprise, and its plainspoken condemnation of the senseless bloodshed of war, Trench Poetry soon became one of the most significant literary moments of its decade.
The marriage of poetry and comics is a deeply fruitful combination, as evidenced by this collection. In stark black and white, the words of the Trench Poets find dramatic expression and reinterpretation through the minds and pens of some of the greatest cartoonists working today.
"If there's one word I could use to describe the book, it would be poignant."
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. This did not affect my review or thoughts in any way, nor am I being compensated for this review.
Wow. Just wow. I read this back in July, but I still can't forget about the book. If there's one word I could use to describe the book, it would be poignant. Both World Wars were obviously incredibly devastating, but you get a first hand look at what it was like for the soldiers through the trench poetry. There were definitely some poems I loved more than others. I generally like poetry with "pretty" writing more, so some of the poems in this book weren't for me. Overall, however, I really liked the mix of experiences and poems found within the book. Some were very difficult to decipher, but I really enjoyed reading most of these.
I had to take this slower than most of the other First Second books I've read. It's very hard to process the poems because of how much of the weight you feel from the soldiers. You feel what they're feeling, and it's a lot to take in. At first, I had hard time really getting into the book, but I really enjoyed the later half of the book.
The artwork varies because they're all different artists. Some of it is very gory, and some can be triggering. Some are beautiful, some are comical. There were definitely a few poems+comic combos that made me cringe, and those are the ones I wouldn't read again. Overall, however, the book is moving and impactful. After finishing, you're left needing a moment of silence and contemplation just to soak it all in. It's harrowing and poignant, but it's also so important for people to read about the experiences of these soldiers that endured and suffered so much.