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.

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 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

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.

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

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