Poems as Comics, Comics as Poems

Poets are often stereotyped as taking themselves far too seriously; internet folk are often stereotyped as completely incapable of seriousness. Let’s put this to rest: neither of these statements is true. Poets know how to laugh at themselves, and the internet has plenty of gravitas. Not only that, but they manage to meet in the middle in today’s topic: webcomics.

There are plenty of webcomics that take up poetry as a theme. One of my favorites was a comic called “Poetry Artist” that has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Its archives are still well worth pursuing, though, and here’s a classic example:

Possibly a Shakespeare reference?

Possibly a Shakespeare reference?

Anders Ekman and David Noonan had a really great sense of how to poke fun at poets while still hinting that they secretly love words as much as their title character does.

A fascinating combination of comics and poetry was compiled by the good folks at the Poetry Foundation, who did a series of comic artists’ renderings of new and old poems. The artists really took some time to think closely about how the words could be transferred to images in a compelling way.

Lastly, one of the most popular webcomics of the moment is the oft-referenced xkcd. Its creator, Randall Munroe, is a huge fan of wordplay, and this comic really highlights that love:

But Randall never just does things halfway. Not long after this comic was posted, he created the fantastic LimerickDB.com, which uses the database format of sites like bash.org to allow users to post and rank their own limericks. It’s simply fantastic!

There was an intriguing webcomic
Whose purpose was quite telephonic
It’s encouraged new poems
As the wide web it roams
While enjoying a nice gin and tonic

Coming next week on Paradise Tossed:
– A blast from the past: What happened to hypertext poems?
– The top five poetry blogs and why you should read them
– Innovative resources for writing formal poetry


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