Dylan Horrocks has no words in his mouth and makes poetry

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I went to hear Dylan Horrocks in conversation with Sarah Laing at Auckland Central Library the other night (it was to celebrate the arrival of Dylan’s Incomplete Works (Victoria University Press). It was a great conversation!

I was most intrigued to hear Dylan make strong connections between comics and poetry (he said he wasn’t surprised as both his parents were poets). He then said there were a number of cartoonists using poetry as comics (or comics as poetry).

Dylan introduced one of his pages by suggesting we think of it as a poem with no words (‘there are no words in my mouth’). He also said he felt intimidated trying to write a poem with words when pictures usually bear 50% of the load (my word) in a cartoon (graphic novel). It sidetracked me into thinking about the way a poem set to music becomes something completely different as the poem’s internal music (so important to some poets) gets lost, drowned out, diluted. So if a cartoonist makes a poem does it too become something different because the poem’s internal images are now coloured by the sketching pen? Fascinating! And is it simply the notion that a picture is a thousand words kind of poetry (no words in my mouth) and you enter a an image by way of a bridge of silence?

One of Dylan’s favourite NZ cartoonists, Rachel Jones (or is it Fenton?) (Rae Joyce?), has written a poem in comic form which I am keen to read. A whole new world opens before me! Wonderful!

Then … just as I am about to type this post in black font which I have zero control over on WordPress I see Rachel Fenton (Rae Joyce) has posted about the occasion herself (and picked up on the poetry references). And oh I get sucked into a vortex of names and identities unsure of what’s going on here.

Unlike me, Rachel has rendered the event with brush and colour and wit. A comic strip. See it here.

Here is an example of her graphic poetry.

And another.

5 thoughts on “Dylan Horrocks has no words in his mouth and makes poetry

  1. racheljfenton

    Thanks so much for this unexpected mention, Paula – I had no idea you were there (not that I’d have known who to introduce myself as!). It was such a surreal moment for me when Dylan described what I felt certain was my work but crediting this other Rachel, who no one in the room appeared to know about. Stranger than fiction. You’ve captured it beautifully in text.

    And hullo, Michelle! My name has a life of its own, mutating like bacteria and getting everywhere!


      1. racheljfenton

        Thank you! So far my work’s only in journals and online – Two Thirds North, the university of Stockholm’s journal, just published my social network comic “Link Din” (http://www.twothirdsnorth.com/), and I have lots of regular poetry and fiction in JAAM, brief, Short Fiction #7 (Uni of Plymouth journal), Cordite Poetry Review, Otoliths, Flash Frontier – the sidebar of my blog is where I try to keep track of me in all my guises. Trade boook publication is my next goal – then Rachel Jones can buy me!


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