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.