When the centenary of the First World War was approaching, I knew I wanted to make something that marked the event which we should never forget. I was pleased to be commissioned by the Folio Society to make a body of work to accompany a new publication of Wilfred Owen’s poetry published 2018 to mark the centenary of Owen’s death and Armistice Day. Owen was killed by machine gun fire while leading his men across the Sambre-Oise canal on 4th November 1918, one week before the signing of the Armistice on the 11th November 1918.
Wilfred Owen wrote most of his poems in the year before his death between August 1917 and September 1918, with only five poems published in his lifetime. Strange Meeting was published posthumously in 1919 in Edith Sitwell’s anthology ‘Wheels: an Anthology of Verse’, and in Siegfried Sassoon’s collection of Owen’s poems in 1920. In a letter to his Mother, dated January 1917, Wilfred Owen wrote of his experiences in a dug-out in No Man’s Land saying “I have suffered seventh hell”; this experience resulted in Owen writing the poem ‘The Sentry’
I hope the work I have made in some way helps to mark the event, the war, Wilfred Owen and the tragic loss of life – Neil Bousfield 2018