Theorizing Poetry Comics

Nicolas Labarre has written a great article for his blog on visual culture on the subject of adapting poetry into comics.

Although the article is in French, Nicolas demonstrates his ideas through a series of his own adaptations of a single short poem by Emily Dickinson, the text of which he has kept in the original English.
As well as providing a much-needed overview of the development and present state of this practice, the article present some very insightful theories on the different strategies that have been used thus far by different cartoonists, including yours truly. After studying comics academically as a master’s student for almost three years now, I must say it is an odd and gratifying feeling to see my own work discussed in a scholarly tone.

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Volume 2 of Le Canon graphique now in stores!

le-canon-graphique-coffret-editions-telemaqueLa Belle Dame 3 eyesThe second volume of the French-language edition of  The Graphic Canon, Russ Kick’s terrific anthology of graphic adaptations of the classics of world literature, is now available in fine bookstores near you (assuming you live in a French-speaking country). In addition to my adaptation of Arthur Rimbaud’s “Drunken Boat,” which is also available in the English version, this new edition contains a French translation of my adaptation of John Keats’s “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” (no need to translate the title). This is the first time this comic of mine has been published in full in any language. Le Canon graphique is published in Paris by Les Editions Télémaque. So far, reviews in France seem to have been largely positive, although I read one article in which the book was describe as “très anglo-saxon.”

Posted in bande dessinée, comic book poetry, John Keats, news, Poetry Comics, Poetry translation, rimbaud | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“Sensuka”- A Poem by Diane G. Paquin (English Version)

(In a post from a few months ago, I published a beautiful poem by the Montreal writer Diane G. Paquin that was directly inspired by my on-going “Views of an Imaginary City” series. Now Diane has composed an English version of the the French original. I have amended a few words here and there, but the French-influenced sentence structure and word choice remain, lending what I find to be an additional air of exoticism to the text.)








The sea.
The stillness of the sea taming Sensuka, at dawn, as the world meditates.
This presence that breathes me in for having acknowledged its shade.
By this only do I exist, captured by its essence.
Sounds cannot translate my dissolving as it smiles and touches my heart, the way I am lost at sea, at dawn, on the shore of Sensuka, as the world meditates.

The ssssnake.
You nicknamed its curves, rising as a cliff where the swimming ended, turning to abyss for the merchant ships. And its hypnotic pull.
Once, after dusk, overcome by its call, I gave my body to its illuminated fluidity.
Not wishing to trouble its secrets with endless waves, my heart complied and I remained suspended, a victim to the beauty of this world. There the dream ended. Continue reading

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Funny pages

Although my comics are rarely all that comical, I do occasionally try for a laugh in writing. I have started gathering some of these attempts at humour together on a page on my website, here:
More to follow!

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New and Improved W. B. Yeats Comic!

The brilliant illustrator and artist Maryse Daniel has added digitally-rendered shading to my adaptation of W. B. Yeats’s “When You Are Old.” The shading imitates the screentone technique that was popular before the introduction of digital colouring. So now, thanks to Maryse, my imitation of the look of the early 90s shojo (girl’s) manga -and more specifically the work of the Clamp collective-  is complete! You can check out the newly shaded poetry comic here:


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Nelligan à Cacouna

The Montreal writer and poet Diane G. Paquin and I have begun collaborating on a project (in French) centered around the famed Quebec poet Émile Nelligan (1879-1941). Here is a little preview. This scene is set in Cacouna, then a popular resort town on the south shore of the upper St. Lawrence, where Émile and his family would take their summer holidays.

Je collabore présentement avec l’écrivaine et poète montréalaise Diane G. Paquin sur un projet centré sur Émile Nelligan. En voici un petit avant-goût. L’action se déroule à Cacouna, un village du Bas-Saint-Laurent qui était à l’époque un populaire lieu de villégiature, et où la famille de Nelligan avait l’habitude de passer les vacances d’été.


Cacouna, été 1893

Émile a trouvé un cadre et étendu sur le sol du cimetière, le place au-dessus de lui.
-Pis là, tu fais quoi?
-Je fais l’inventaire des textures des nuages…c’est un temps parfait pour les frissons, les plumes, les ornières dans la neige, une miche enfarinée.
Et comme si Lucien accordait presque au cadre cette magie, il veut l’emprunter.
-Je n’ai pas terminé…plus tard.
L’ami s’étend tout de même en formant une fenêtre rectangulaire entre ses mains.
-Je vois qu’il va pleuvoir, dit-il en regardant vers Rimouski.
-Oh le bel indigo!
Tenant le cadre à deux, ils regardent la tranche sombre.
-On a tout le temps de retourner sans courir.

(Diane G. Paquin)

Et voici une deuxième version du texte de Diane. Elle hésite encore entre les deux.

Cacouna, été 1894

Évadé tôt de la villa, ayant ramassé un cadre repéré la veille, Émile a choisi le murmure du cimetière pour s’y étendre et découper l’immense voûte.
Fffrisson…fragments de plumes…farine, enfarinement plutôt.
Michaud a vite fait de retrouver Émile.
-Pis là tu fais quoi?
-Je vois…des vagues Figées, des Fumées de combats.
Michaud s’étend et tend la main, le cadre avait-il un pouvoir?
-Tu me le prêtes?
L’ami forme d’abord deux tubes qu’il pose sur ses yeux imitant les jumelles des estivants puis tend les bras en parenthèses cherchant parmi ses propres références à nommer ce qu’il voit.
-Ooooh le bel indigo!
Tenant le cadre à deux, ils fixent une tranche rampante de ciel sombre.
-On a tout le temps…sans courir.
-L’église est ouverte, viens!
Le cadre est placé en retrait, caché dans une herbe plus haute pour usage futur.
L’église, le seul refuge qui puisse l’exempter du tonnerre de sa mère.

Posted in Emile Nelligan, illustration, Poetry | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Interview with Micah Mattix

Here is a link to an interview I recently gave to Micah Mattix for The University Bookman:

Posted in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot, Arthur Rimbaud, comic book poetry, Poetry, Poetry Comics | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments