This is a book about the 100th Anniversary of the poem In Flanders Fields. It is a book about war, loss and remembrance. It is a book that will also qualify for my mini-challenge for the Canadian Book Review challenge for November.
In this book, thirteen of our finest writers reflect on and commemorate the 100th anniversary of this famous poem. I always loved the poem. It is a poem that always takes my breath away, despite the fact that I read it so many times. Every time, I still have the same affects.
I didn’t have all the facts about the history of the poem. In early 1915, the death of a young friend on the battlefields of Ypres inspired Canadian soldier, field surgeon and poet John McCrae to write the poem In Flanders Fields.
Within months of the poem’s December 1915 publication in the British magazine Punch, it became part of the collective consciousness around the English-speaking world. Its extraordinary power has endured for decades and across generations. The anthology explores the evolving meaning of the poem as well as the man who wrote it and the World War I setting from which it emerged as well as its themes of valour, grief, and remembrance, and the iconic image of the poppy.
The authors of this book have an amazing breath and depth of knowledge. I loved reading their articles about the poem.
Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire writes about the emotional meaning of the poem for warm veterans and himself. Historian Tim Cook describes the rich and varied life of McCrae, and the novelist Frances Itani revisits her time in Flanders and mines the acts of witnessing and remembering. Kevin Patterson, also a doctor who is a writer, offers a riveting depiction of the adrenaline-fueled work of a field surgeon.
Then journalist and historian Mary Janigan reveals the poem’s surprisingly divisive effect during the 1917 federal election. Also, Ken Dryden tells us how lines from the poem ended up on the wall of the Montreal Canadiens’ dressing room. Lastly, poet Patrick Lane recalls a remembrance Day from his childhood in a moving reflection on how war shapes us all.
I loved this book from start to finish!