April 1st kicks off National Poetry Month and it is the perfect time to add more poetry into the world. Poetry expresses visceral emotions with language in a way that has engaged readers for centuries. And poetry isn’t one thing, it is almost all things, from a Pulitzer Prize–winning verse, to the magnets on your fridge you move about while zoning out on a phone call. In that way, poetry and comics share a lot, because there is no one right way to make comics. Comics can be any sequential art, from cocktail napkins to 4-foot canvases. And like poetry, comics elicit a stronger reaction than other types of storytelling by utilizing visuals to engage a deeper connection, different than that of words. It is why these initially disparate elements open up a world of possibilities with Poetry Comics.
Another area of Poetry Comics includes sequential art pieces by poets who weave words into their art or the other way around. It is this type of creation that can be helpful for those in search of a new creative outlet. Maybe sitting down to write a poem feels too scary, but doodling and writing together comes more naturally. Perhaps people just can’t decide between their love of narrative art and practicing their finely honed verbal craft. Regardless of the reason, it is a lesser-known subset of two amazing types of art that could help a lot of people express themselves more fully or work through difficult times.
Check out these people and places to learn more:
- Comics own Rick Veitch & writer Peter Money collaborated on a few Poetry Comics you can read on Veitch’s blog.
- THEthe Poetry is an online magazine with a big Poetry Comics section and the ability to download different poems and ebooks.
- Four names keep coming up again and again for modern Poetry Comics defining the field, this is an interview with all four of them that is the perfect place to start.
- Paul K. Tunis is a comics artist, writer, and poet from Globe, Arizona. Paul co-founded the Ignatz Award nominated literary comics journal INK BRICK.
- Bianca Stone is a writer and visual artist. She was born and raised in Vermont and moved to New York City in 2007 where she received her MFA from NYU. She collaborated with Anne Carson on Antigonick, a book pairing Carson’s translation of Antigone with Stone’s illustration and comics (New Directions, 2012). Stone is the author of the poetry collection Someone Else’s Wedding Vows, (Tin House Books and Octopus Books, 2014) and Poetry Comics From the Book of Hours (Pleiades Press, 2016) and most recently, The Mobius Strip Club of Grief (Tin House, 2018).
- Gary Sullivan is a poet, cartoonist, and author. His comic strip “The New Life” appears in Rain Taxi.
- Alexander Rothman is a poet and cartoonist based in Philadelphia, PA. He’s also the publisher and co-editor-in-chief of INK BRICK, a small press dedicated to comics poetry, and a co-host of the Comics for Grownups podcast.
Both poetry and art are known to help people process emotion, develop perspective, empathy, alleviate stress, improve cognitive function, and so much more. If you or someone you know is struggling to express themselves right now, spend some time reading and creating Poetry Comics together. Creativity can be done alone or together and shared in many different ways. To get ideas on ways to connect remotely, check out CBLDf’s newest resource Going Remote to help you revamp or start a virtual book club (even for poetry).