Video of “Stairs Appear in a Hole Outside of Town” by John Philip Johnson

Jim Avis’s video adaptation of my comics rendition of John Philip Johnson’s beautifully unsettling poem, “Stairs appear in a Hole Outside of Town.” The poem is read by the author himself.

Side note: I’ve recently become very intrigued by the aesthetic and psychological concept of “liminal space.” The term–from the Latin “limen”(threshold)–refers to those transitional spaces of modern life, such as corridors, stairwells, parking lots, shopping mall atriums, and so on, which we move through without really noticing them, but which, when seen in a slightly different light, such as in a photograph devoid of human figures, may fill us with a strange kind of unease. One may even get the feeling, when experiencing these spaces in this “slightly off” fashion, that they hold another kind of liminal quality, that they are hinting at some kind of vaguely apprehended transition point into a different reality. There has been quite a bit of interest in this concept on the internet in recent years, although (not surprisingly) I’ve only just become aware of it now. Anyways, it occurs to me that this poem is quite a striking demonstration of the uncanny pull of such liminal spaces.

You can find 24 other such “poetry comics” (including one based on another John Philip Johnson poem) in my recent book, Poems to See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry (Plough Publishing, 2020).

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