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Age: Adults

Poetry is Normal Presents Voices from the Front: Poetry and Painting from World War I

“The Poetry is in the pity,” wrote Wilfred Owen, one of Britain’s foremost poets. JoAnna Mink’s presentation traces the change in attitude towards World War I through the words and paintings of poets and artists who served at the Front from 1914 through 1918. 

British poets Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Ivor Gurney, and Charles Sorley voice their generation's experience of trench and battlefield in this "war to end all wars." Joining them are Canadian John McRae and American Alan Seeger. Though they did not carry a rifle, women served not far from the Front in nursing stations and as ambulance drivers. Some, most notably Vera Brittain, wrote poems describing the impact of the battlefield. Paintings by artists who fought in the trenches augment these Voices from the Front. "Have you forgotten yet?" queried Sassoon.  Their words and images transcend the horror of this event to resonate with us today.

JoAnna Stephens Mink is Professor Emerita of English from Minnesota State University (in Mankato) and an alumna of ISU. Her major publications include four co-edited collections of scholarly essays, chapters in books, articles in scholarly journals, and entries in literary encyclopedias. Since retiring in 2008, when she returned to Normal, she has continued her literary interests, having several articles published in the journals of the Thomas Hardy Society and presenting conference papers on Thomas Hardy, on Jane Austen, and on illustrations in Nineteenth-Century British novels. She participates in the biennial Hardy Society Conferences in the UK. She is actively engaged in volunteer activities at the McLean County Museum of History and at Heartland Theatre.  She also writes the quarterly Reggie Reads column on the ISU Alumni Association website.