Having recently purchased and read this book, I felt inspired to do something I rarely do - write a review in the hope that it might encourage others to explore the product. I don't generally do this, as I truly believe that everyone should be allowed to make their own judgement on what is good and bad and not be dictated to by others. So this is my 'exception to the rule'.
The basic premise of this book is that a `street poet' decided to invite artists to submit graphic novel style interpretations of his work. As he states himself in the introduction to the book, too many people are put off the concept of poetry as a form of writing by being force-fed the `classics' in the education system, with little introduction to the idea of poems as something that can be fun to read. Scroobius Pip has, of course, gone on to perform many of these compositions as pieces of music - another great way of encouraging people to take notice of what is being said.
The poems included in this book (in common with the author's other work) display a keen sense of social awareness and responsibility, whilst at the same time identifying very clearly and sympathetically with issues and challenges which so many of us face on a daily basis.
Several of the poems included have an autobiographical element (the child with the stutter, the friend who self harms), and with the exception of one `love' poem, the remaining content includes loss, teenage angst, feelings of shame and the tedium of daily life. Clearly, these subjects are not easy to write about, but Scroobius Pip manages to strike exactly the right combination of fact and emotion which makes you want to read on and see what happens next.
The artwork, provided by a number of disparate illustrators who responded to a tentative idea on MySpace, was carefully chosen by the author to illustrate his words. In fact, as far as the artists were concerned, the only stipulation when creating their work was that the words had to be reproduced 100% accurately. The art which was finally selected for the book varies from precisely drawn comic strips to more arty pieces and even to quite basic story board type illustrations, but all of them work perfectly with the poem that they were created for.
In summary, this is a fascinating book, written by a man who can eloquently articulate difficult topics in a way that is appealing and eminently readable, and illustrated by a number of artists who totally understand his work and have helped to make it accessible and interesting to those who might not otherwise have taken notice of it. And in common with many other contemporary poets, if you have the opportunity to see him perform his work live then do. Poetry, when performed live, is a total revelation.