comics, seriously

October 4, 2020

Neil Cohn thinks seriously about comics. With a Ph.D. in Psychology from Tufts University and post-doc work at U.C. San Diego, he is currently an Associate Professor at Tilburg University, in the Netherlands. His work explores the “similarities between the underlying structure of language and the structure found in the ‘visual language’ used in comics.”

Not surprisingly, those similarities extend to visual poetry.

If you’re interested in visual language, have a look at Cohn’s Visual Language Lab and his latest book, Who Understands Comics?: Questioning the Universality of Visual Language Comprehension (Bloomsbury 2020).

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image by Neil Cohn

not-comical comics

May 17, 2020

Montreal comic book artist and illustrator Julian Peters is one of many people whose book launch has been sidetracked by the coronavirus. In his book, Poems to See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry (Plough Publishing), Peters uses a variety of styles to illustrate poems by Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, Maya Angelou, Seamus Heaney, e. e. cummings, Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, Christina Rossetti, William Wordsworth, William Ernest Henley, Robert Hayden, Edgar Allan Poe, W. H. Auden, Thomas Hardy, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Philip Johnson, W. B. Yeats, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Tess Gallagher, Ezra Pound, and Siegfried Sassoon. Learn more about Julian Peters and listen to a brief interview.

International Haiku Poetry Day

Today, April 17, is International Haiku Poetry Day. The day started (and continues as of this writing), over at the Haiku Foundation, with an EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration, in which people respond to a poem by Onitsura, to the theme light, or to other haiku posted on the comment thread.

But actually, International Haiku Poetry Day started months ago, when the Haiku Foundation invited haiku poets to create short films for the HaikuLife film festival, to be unveiled today. Links to the videos are posted on the HaikuLife page.

Among them is “The Old Pond” by Jessica Tremblay (she lives in Cascadia and we’ve mentioned her before), whose video tells the story of how the young frog Kaeru gets apprenticed to to Master Kawazu, the frog who jumped in Basho’s pond.

In an e-mail, Jessica describes the animation process as “painfully slow,” and offers a look inside her progress in two very short videos, which she has posted here and here. You can see more of Master Kawazu, Kaeru and Jessica Tremblay, and learn more about haiku, on Old Pond Comics.

Watch, read, write and enjoy International Haiku Poetry Day.

light reading

January 9, 2021

For a change of pace, have a look at Comic Book Resources, where Theo Kogod recommends “5 DC Comics To Read If You Love Poetry (& 5 Indie Comics Just As Good).”

More poetry comics here.

what’s so funny?

April 18, 2017

In the ever-expanding universe of poetry publications, comics poetry is gaining traction. Ink Brick Press, which will issue the 8th edition of its journal, Ink Brick, in the fall, is a micro-press dedicated to comics poetry. The Ink Brick Kickstarter campaign that ended March 1 successfully raised $12,412 with 272 backers, certainly an expression of widening interest. The journal’s comics are as varied as poetry itself. Some use words, some don’t. Few equate comics with “funnies.”

In his Indiana Review article, What is Comics Poetry?, Ink Brick publisher and co–editor-in-chief Alexander Rothman (who is also a cartoonist and poet) offers his perspective on the medium. (You may also enjoy Rothman’s personal site, Versequential.)

Comics poetry is showing up in other places. With issue 24, Drunken Boat has added a comics section. In Cordite Poetry Review, poet and artist Tamryn Bennett provides an analysis of comics poetry — both how it works and how it differs from concrete poetry, visual poetry and illustrated poetry. The The Poetry has a Poetry Comics section with occasional posts and commentary. In The Comics Grid, journal of comics scholarship, you can find Derik Robertson’s article, “Justification of Poetry Comics: A Multimodal Theory of an Improbable Genre.”

Where do you draw the line?

P.S. If you’re a professional Northwest cartoonist, check out C.L.A.W., the Cartoonists League of Absurb Washingtonians. They meet for a monthly “Open Swim” at King’s Books in Tacoma.
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artwork by Alyssa Berg

weekly inspiration…

March 2, 2013

poemoftheweek.orgWe’ve posted before (here, here and here) about sites where you can subscribe to daily or weekly infusions of poetry. Here are a couple more:

Linebreak is a weekly (every Tuesday) online magazine edited and published by Ash Bowen and Johnathon Williams. Each carefully selected poem is accompanied by an audio reading recorded by another working poet selected by the editors. Linebreak accepts submissions.

The The Poetry (mentioned recently in connection with poetry comics) features a new poem each week on the home page and collects many of the previous poems here. The The Poetry does not accept poetry submissions for the Poem of the Week feature but will seek a reviewer for your poetry book if you send them information.
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Poem of the Week

the antidote for February…

February 22, 2013

Laughing BuddhaWhen it seems that February’s gloom will never end, laugh.

At Old Pond Comics, Jessica Tremblay offers a haiku comic a day for National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo).

At The The Poetry, Bianca Stone curates Poetry Comics. (Bianca Stone also blogs at Poetry Comics.)

At Cartoon Stock, check out the Poetry Cartoons.

At Savage Chickens, Doug Savage draws sticky-note-size cartoons, including poetry clucks.

Okay. That’s enough. Go write a poem.
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Laughing Buddha

not ha ha funny

September 6, 2020

Now and then we post about the intersection between poetry and comics. One of the people working at that crossroads is Alexander Rothman. Here’s his essay, “What Is Comics Poetry?” Rothman’s website, Versequential, has a lot of examples of his work with a minimum of explanation.

If you’re particularly interested in the poetry/comics paradigm, you may enjoy “Joe Brainard’s Grid, or, the Matter of Comics” by Daniel Worden.

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image: words by Charles Olson, drawing by Alexander Rothman

Trinidad Escobar is a storyteller, poet, visual artist, and full-time cartoonist from Milpitas, California. She combines her comics/illustrations with poetry, memoir, essays, fiction, and more. See lots of examples on her website and unlock more on Patreon.

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image: Self-Portrait

zines, etc.

May 11, 2020

Portland, Oregon, based Antiquated Future is a trove of imagination-in-print. Eileen Myles on vinyl? Yup. “A Spell For Letting Go” patch? Yup. Postcards, notepads, journals, and greeting cards? Loads. And zines, zines, zines.

From the site:

A zine (pron.: /ˈziːn/ Zeen; an abbreviation of fanzine, or magazine) is a self-published, small circulation booklet or magazine, usually produced by one person or a few individuals. Zines come in all shapes, sizes, topics, and formats. They can include personal essays, political discussions, fiction, craft, or do-it-yourself advice. Articles or reviews about music, movies, comics, poetry, are also a common trait. In short: they can be anything!

And even if all you want is a fun browse, check out Antiquated Future.

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