Only a handful of twentieth-century poets have published their own illustrated verse for a literary readership. Günter Grass and Stevie Smith included illustrations in all their first edition volumes, and Thomas Hardy's first book of poetry was illustrated with a substantial number of neat ink drawings. As an anomaly in his publishing history, Hardy scholars and editors have seemed perplexed as to how to treat his illustrations, often choosing to omit them altogether. Likewise, those reprinting Grass and Smith's works (when translated into English or anthologized) have frequently not included the visual partners of the poems, despite Grass and Smith's own advocacy of them. This editorial attitude dismisses illustrations as optional paratexts that merely support the meaning already inherent in the poem. In this article, I argue that we need to view the visual and verbal together in order to fully understand the text; or rather, a poem reprinted without the drawing it was partnered with in the first edition is incomplete. I examine a selection of work from each of these poet-illustrators which demonstrates that rather than being superfluous to our understanding of the poems, the illustrations are integral to a complete and informed reading of these composite texts.

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