In the spirit of celebrating the vitality of poetic language, I offer you cartoonist Lynda Barry, creator of Ernie Pook's Comeek featuring the wonderfully candid child characters, Maybonne and Marlys--among others. (Check out The Greatest of Marlys, listed in Time Magazine's Top Ten Graphic Novels.) Barry also happens to be a painter, playwright, editor, commentator and teacher! Watch an 8-minute Poetry Foundation video of her comedic discussion HERE, including an examination of the cadence in Emily Dickinson's poetry, which Barry sings to both Gerschwinn and "The Girl from Ipanema"!
Here's the online class description, written by Barry herself, I suspect. I love how she levels the playing field:
"You can be completely anonymous in this class! You don't have to be cool! Your clothes can be square! You don't have to read aloud or talk to anyone if you don't want to! You don't even have to make eye contact! THIS CLASS WORKS ESPECIALLY WELL FOR 'NON-WRITERS' like bartenders, janitors, office workers, hairdressers, musicians, and ANYONE who has given up on "being a writer" but still wonders what it might be like to write."
Lynda Barry has been drawing books of cartoons for over twenty years, most of them quirky volumes of her right-on reminiscences and glimpses of growing up in '60s-'70s America. It's all there in her work -- love, hate, sex, race, abuse, alcoholism, mental illness -- always delivered with humor and hope. Barry began drawing comics in 1977 while attending Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. One of her friends and classmates there was Matt Groening of Life in Hell and The Simpsons.I first came across Barry's books in college at UC Santa Cruz when I took a class--my last one and only elective--called Comic Books and American Culture. I remain riveted by her adept storytelling that brings these truths to life in such a compelling way. I'm convinced she's either got a photographic memory or her younger selves wrote lots of diaries (or made lots of comics).
To read a great 2010 interview of this illustrious woman, click HERE.
Whether it's cartoons, narrative prose or poetry that makes you sing, keep on writing...