ABOVE THE DREAMLESS DEAD, edited by Chris Duffy

Review copy provided by First Second Books.

This is an anthology of WWI poetry – Brooke, Hardy, Graves, Owen, Sassoon, Rosenberg, others – adapted into graphic format by a whole swathe of modern cartoonists. The illustrations are in a variety of styles, some impressionistical and moving, like George Pratt’s, or Danica Novgorodoff’s, and some plain and lacking in feeling. There are notes. The notes are rather on the didactic side. Perhaps this is an anthology intended for younger readers?

It’s an interesting experiment. Perhaps I would feel differently if I actually enjoyed graphic-format works in general. But for me, it did not work: only rarely did the art support the feeling of the poetry, the sense and weight and music of it, rather than distracting from it or working at cross-purposes.

But the poetry of the war works its own images, impressed into the mind: for me no others can compare.