Poems to See by: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry


Product Details

$26.00  $24.18
Plough Publishing House
Publish Date
7.5 X 9.6 X 0.7 inches | 1.4 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Julian Peters is an illustrator and comic book artist living in Montreal, Canada, who focuses on adapting classical poems into graphic art. His work has been exhibited internationally and published in several poetry and graphic art collections. Peters holds a master's degree in Art History, and in 2015, served as "Cartoonist in Residence" at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.


"Comics artist Julian Peters performs a sleight-of-paintbrush, as it were, with an array of powerful verses in Poems to See By, a collection for readers ages 10 to adult. It is a wide and varied collection, both in visuals and text. Here are pieces by Carl Sandburg, Edna St. Vincent Millay and William Ernest Henley. Mr. Peters sets the aching lines of Robert Hayden's 1962 poem "Those Winter Sundays" as if in the illustrated panels of a graphic novel....Other poems are illustrated with delicate watercolor panels or cartoon drawings in the style of Japanese manga....In a preface, Mr. Peters writes that his motivation for translating great poetry into the visual language of comics was "for love of beauty." In this he has undoubtedly succeeded; reading Poems to See By is a stirring experience." --The Wall Street Journal

"By creating interesting juxtapositions of text, imagery, and illustration style, cartoonist Peters elevates each of the 24 visualizations of classic poems here into something much more interesting than mere translation. He highlights the timelessness of regretful longing by rendering William Butler Yeats's "When You Are Old" as a manga about an elderly woman reflecting on her youth. In "Hope is the thing with feathers," he depicts a vibrantly colored bird watching over black-and-white depictions of a soldier huddled in a foxhole, an impoverished child in China, and an immigrant family entering a new land, lending a sense of universality to Emily Dickinson's text. At the beginning of Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays," dark watercolors evoke a dreary cold morning, as the speaker comes to recognizes his father's habit of waking early to stoke the furnace as an act of love, the palette warms considerably, provoking a visceral flair of emotion. Peters's virtuosity as an illustrator and keen understanding of the texts included here results in a beautiful, memorable volume." --Library Journal

"Poems to See By is a perfect fit not only for die-hard poetry fans and curious new readers--it's also a fantastic teaching tool that any educator trying to get their students excited by poetry should pick up for their classroom....[It]harnesses the power of lush visuals, timeless poetry, and the magical alchemy that arises when words and pictures come together to create a reading experience that's truly unique--one which might even change the way you see poetry for good." --The Good Men Project

"By turns whimsical, chilling, and profound, Peters has created a wonderful anthology of classic poems new and old, as well as an inspiring exploration of the wide range of visual possibilities available when bringing poetry into the comics medium. After each graphic version, the poem appears in its original form, so the reader can also experience the poetry in words alone, and compare their own mental images and associations with Peters' choices. Peters particularly excels at adapting weighty subjects, using his art to allude to historical events and styles, such as African textiles and folk art in "Caged Bird", or propaganda films, posters, and black & white photojournalism in "Conscientious Objector." But he also nods to classic American comic strips, film noir, manga, and more." --Gareth Hinds, creator of critically-acclaimed graphic novels, The Iliad and The Odyssey

"Comic artist Peters adopts a distinct visual style for each poem in this English-language collection, then imagines a complex narrative to accompany it. For William Ernest Henley's "Invictus" ("I am the master of my fate: / I am the captain of my soul"), he creates a blocky, black-and-white sequence about a dramatic prison break. For La...