Earlier this year, to mark the centenary of the beginning of World War I, the Poetry Society and The Fleming Collection commissioned a videopoem inspired by John Glenday's poem "The Big Push" and Sir Herbert James Gunn's painting The Eve of the Battle of the Somme. The result is the Mosaic Films hand-painted-on-glass animation by Xin Li for which no computer effects were used (see below). The poem, a monologue by a soldier swimming in a mill dam, is read by its author. The composer and sound designer is Nick Norton-Smith.
Poet John Glenday, who has been shortlisted for the prestigious Ted Hughes Award and Griffin Poetry Prize and was awarded in 2016 the Roehampton Poetry Prize, is the author of The Golden Mean (Picador, 2015), Grain (Picador, 2009), Undark (Peterloo Poets, 1995; available via resellers), and The Apple Ghost (Peterloo Poets, 1989; out of print), which was Glenday's debut collection and winner of a Scottish Arts Council Book Award.
Sir Herbert James Gunn (1893-1964), who served in France in World War I, was a successful Scottish landscape and portrait painter; his sitters included Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother. His work can be found in National Galleries Scotland (see images), National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, and other fine art museums and galleries. Gunn's painting The Eve of the Battle of the Somme resides in The Fleming Collection.
Text of "The Big Push"
First World War Centenary (2014-2018)
Peterloo Poets, Poetry Publishers (1972-2009)