- Paperback: 117 pages
- Publisher: T&w Books (Sept. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0915924870
- ISBN-13: 978-0915924875
- Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 20.3 x 0.9 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,556,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Poetry Comics: An Animated Anthology Paperback – 1 Sep 2002
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
At its simplest one tree says to another, a real babe, as it offers an acorn, "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree". Joyce Kilmer's famous poetic line becomes a pick-up line. The same sort of taking the poet at his word is the illustration of Ezra Pound's "In A Station of in the Metro": "The Apparition of these faces in a crowd; petals on a wet, black bough", that classic Imagist line, becomes a poet looking at a bunch of faces on the leaves of a wet branch-and it is kind of creepy.
Poetic revision is taken to a new level in Ben Jonson's "Celia" and Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time". Both poems become Romance Comics. Celia loses her man to this chick in a black dress. "To the Virgins" takes us through a love affair, a car accident, a marriage, and lost love. And, of course, large tears role down many a cheek in both stories.
I love the variety of the drawing. Shakespeare's sonnet 18, "Shall I Compare Thee to A Summer's Day", becomes a sort of Monsters' Ball. Sonnet 130, "My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing like the Sun", becomes an anatomy chart. "A Song" by Thomas Carew has "Frank and Ernest" type elephants who act like people. Remember the children's book?
Morice's pictures create narratives that transform some poems. In the new version of Robert Browning's "Fra Lippo Lippi", one mouse woos another while cats chase both. The hero of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" becomes a faceless comic book reader who tries to live out his fantasies about Lenore through a super hero called "The Raven".
For the most part Morice gives us the words straight and creates new images. However, I love the sheer comic book fantasy of Walt Whitman as a super hero. Morice raids several poems to give us the story of "Whit-man": He is sitting in his chair drinking beer and watching TV when suddenly he springs into action to fly into outer space to meet an alien threat. I had no idea that that was the real story behind Leaves of Grass. However, "singing the body electric" should have given me a clue.
The T.S. Eliot "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" drawings actually give us some literary scholarship. Did Eliot name J. Alfred Prufrock after a St. Louis Furniture store? The historical Prufrock Building and the real company calendar appear in Morice's strip.
In every sense, Morice's comics are a revision. He makes us think about each line, sometimes each word in a new way. Teachers would like this. But doesn't he do the sort of thing we used to hide from our teachers? Did you ever draw Steinbeck's "Red Pony" on the inside cover of your book? Or sketch Hester Prynne's Scarlet Letter while your teacher droned on? However, his publisher, Teachers and Writers Collaborative, apparently think this is educational. They asked Morice to write an introduction about the poem-cartoon combination as a natural one, William Blake and all that. I do really appreciate the "How to Make Poetry Comics" part in the back. I could never draw but that didn't stop me from making my own comics and if schools use this book to encourage kids to draw comics, well, ok.
Some of you may know that there have been earlier versions of Poetry Comics (two previous books and mimeographed editions that I used to find hidden in alternative magazine stores). All of them are now out of print. Morice reprints some old favorites and has drawn new ones like "The Raven" and John Ashbery's "The Trees".
This is the kind of book you read in the bookstore and then bring home and put in the living room. My kids like it. I also like looking at the cartoon Shakespeare on the cover. Shakespeare gets the Andy Warhol treatment. Multiple versions of the same portrait appear in different colors as if he were Warhol's Marilyn Monroe. Throughout Poetry Comics the muse gets funky.