Julian Peters is a comics artist and illustrator living in Montreal. He specializes in the adaptation of classic poetry into the medium of comics. His debut collection, “Poems to See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry,” was released in 2020 by Plough Books.
The highly distinctive rhythm and syntax of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poetry seemed to call out for a less conventional approach to comics adaptation than has been my general practice, particularly in terms of the page layouts and colour schemes. In my drawings I have tried to capture some of that feeling of divine grandeur Hopkins always finds in nature, while also highlighting what I saw as the environmentalist concerns to be found in this short poem. The final image can of course be read as an apocalyptic one, though the plume of smoke rising up from the jungle suggests that some human beings have survived the civilizational collapse brought on by their own destructive tendencies. On a more pessimistic note, the presence of burning as evidence of human life could be seen to indicate the inherently negative effects of human beings on their environment, even as, paradoxically, they are the only creatures capable of appreciating its grandeur.