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Poetry Comics: Every Line in a Drawing Counts

US readers: I hope you are having a good holiday! To help celebrate, here is a delightful comic, illustrating a well-known poem, from Poetry Comics, by William Carlos Williams.

This cartoonist’s style is direct, clear and not overly pretentious in the way in which it was drawn. Dave Morice, the artist, reframes the poem, imbuing it with more meaning. Before I saw this comic, I never thought of this poem as being funny. The line quality and content has everything to do with the viewer's perception. In a drawing, just as in a poem, every line or mark is important to the overall message.

"Every word in a poem counts. A word conjures an image, images juxtaposed to create something new or suggest something elusive. Comics, like poetry, are about simplifying and paring down. There is only so much space on a page and every mark must count. Visual concerns are crucial for both mediums. A cartoonist cascades panels across a page as a poet decides the placement of each line and letter." – from the National Association of Comics Art Educators

"Like poetry, sequential art has been around throughout history, with familiar examples found on cave wallsand Mayan temples. "A sequence of illustrations causes a reader to make links between the information portrayed in each. For instance, a picture of a man pointing a gun at another man followed by another picture of the second man falling to the floor creates the assumption in the reader that the gun was fired. We don't see the gun being fired, but we know that it happened. This effect is called 'closure' and is one of the main tricks of human perception that gives comics their power. Through closure, even seemingly unrelated pictures can be linked to create a sequence of events, or elements of a theme." – from an article, titled Comic Strips or Sequential Art, posted by the BBC

Also see:
Roz Chast
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Poetry Comics: A Literary Postcard Book, by Dave Morice
Collected Curios
Sequential Art Gallery
Quotes About Writing

Reader Comments (4)

Hi, We love that you used a poem by William Carlos Williams for your poem comic. His poetry can be so concise yet so telling.

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGoSmelltheFlowers

It is a wonderful poem, Flowers, and so nicely illustrated. Thank you for the comment. To clarify, I did not create the comic. The artist's signature appears to be in the upper right hand corner of the drawing, though not legible... Regards, Amy L.

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Leidtke

The comic is by Dave Morice, who has created many other wonderful poetry comics. See here for more details:


July 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTanya

Tanya: Thanks for the info! I added Dave Morice's name to the post. Amy

July 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Leidtke
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