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A beautifully illustrated hefty hardback commemorates poet Wilfred Owen

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Illustration ©2018 Neil Bousfield from The Folio Society edition of Wilfred Owen Selected Poems

If you studied poetry in school you’ll know doubt know at least a bit about the metaphors and stanzas of one of history’s most revered War poets: Wilfred Owen. If you didn’t quite grapple with the images in poetry form, you can resist his words in a new beautifully illustrated book. The Folio Society commemorates the centenary of poet Wilfred Owen’s death with over 100 pages of paste-paper.

The hefty hardback includes commissioned illustrations by printmaker Neil Bousfield, and features 42 poems from the esteemed war poet alongside original engravings. The drawings explore trench networks and aim to explore the horror of the First World War. The process for Bousfield entailed creating his own blocks, before working on them using a ‘reduction method’, or, engraving and printing the block with a first colour before repeatedly re-engraving and reprinting it using different colours and printed on paste-paper. The results are fascinating and haunting modern depictions of the Great War, each brought into the present.

Speaking about the process, production director of The Folio Society Kate Grimwade says, “The papers are coated with a special mix of green-grey paste enhanced with graphite, to catch the light like gun-metal, then finally brushed and tooled while wet using five different combs. These freehand, random-angled tooled lines are intended to suggest bomb trails, flack and military conflict. From the colours in the paper, we developed a harmonising olive-brown goatskin leather and slipcase paper.”

The book retails at £195 so it might not exactly be on our rush-to-buy list, but the illustrations are still pretty great and you can check some out below.

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Illustration ©2018 Neil Bousfield from The Folio Society edition of Wilfred Owen Selected Poems

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Illustration ©2018 Neil Bousfield from The Folio Society edition of Wilfred Owen Selected Poems