Beatrice Reviews “Poems to See By” by Julian Peters

“Poems to See By” by Julian Peters
★★★★☆

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This stunning anthology of favorite poems visually interpreted by comic artist Julian Peters breathes new life into some of the greatest English-language poets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for free on Netgalley, for an honest and unbiased review.

I haven’t reviewed a poetry anthology before but I’m glad this is my first one off the bat. A stunning visual portrayal of works of art by the infamous Emily Dickinson, e.e. cummings and Maya Angelou (to name a few), “Poems to See By” is a beautiful experience for those artistic souls out there.

The poetry, in itself, is a vast and uplifting collection. Covering various themes and topics such as identity, hope, life and death and supplemented by various art forms ranging from ink-based to comics and manga, Peters pays tribute to these poets’ creations as well as creating his own original work, adding a new layer of depth to the poems.

Although I don’t have the technical artistic terms down, the lack of knowledge in the field of art didn’t take away from the experience. I’ve always felt that poetry, literature and any form of art (visual or not) is a highly personal affair. To see this artist bring these poems to life through a mix of monochrome panels, dominant color schemes and splashes of his artist’s muse showing through is a delight. The varied nature of the styles for each poem also goes to show Peters’ talent as an illustrator.

In a world where the people’s experience is highly shaped by visual media and senses, it surprises me that the idea of combining artwork with written forms of literature hasn’t been done before. I’m glad that this was my first experience of that sort. Peters delivers nothing short of artistic mastery and a newfound depth for poems that have shaped the world.

An original and wonderful way to experience poetry and introduce new generations to the work of classic poets and renowned names in the field, I urge any and everyone to grab their own copy of the book and allow themselves to feel the magic it provides.

the Creator.

A universe sits at the tips of my fingers –
waiting to be penned into existence.

The blank page before me sings out from
the endless lines,
the infinite possibilities,
the worlds waiting to be breathed into life.

Characters hold their breath as their eyes follow the decorated spotlight
hands sweating
fingers digging into their trembling thighs
waiting for their moment to steal the scene.

The world shifts under their feet from
Daytime to nightfall
Green pastures and blue skies to
Muddy puddles and gray buildings.

I flick my wrist
and hearts break.

Ink blots
and darkness reigns the world.

I smile
and happy endings are in store.

For this is my creation
and I am it’s Maker.

But these unsuspecting innocents,
whose minds cannot possibly conceive
the madness of my own,
when they nudge me with their ignorance and ask
“What is your vocation?”

I sate their dwindling curiosities
my smile withholding the secrets of all I am
all I could bring to existence,
if I so desired
and simply say

“I’m a writer.”