(Anete Melece / Inga Gaile, Anna Vaivare / Semyon Khanin, Davis Ozols / Ingmara Balode, Ingrida Pičukane / Sergej Timofejev, Klavs Loris / Anna Foma, Lote Vilma Vitina / Karlis Verdinš, Martinš Zutis / Arvis Viguls, Ruta Briede / Janis Rokpelnis from Latvia, and Alexander Rothman (USA), Andrej Štular (Slovenia), Dunja Janković (Croatia), Evie Cahir (Australia), Julie Doucet (Canada), König Lü.Q. (Switzerland), L.L. de Mars (France), Mari Ahokoivu (Finland), Nicolas Zouliamis (Belgium), Patrick Kyle (Canada), Sam Alden (USA), Theo Ellsworth (USA), Tiina Lehikoinen (Finland) and Tommi Musturi (Finland))
Art is what art does and its expression is myriad and unexpected. Sometimes, though, we delineate between forms and some creators define themselves exclusively by these boxes. Are they dancers and only dancers? Sculptors are not novelists, right? A film maker would never put a brush on a canvas. Talent is a cherished gift, it’s best not to spread it too thin.
And of course what is art without its audience. How often do our expectations calcify the potential of creators? The walls we put around our demarcations often become detention camps for artists.
What happens, though, when courageous creators take a chance on something new, some interaction and intersection between established mediums?
Well, sometimes something beautiful occurs.
š! #18 is one of those things, one of those beautiful, beautiful things.
The Latvian comic publishing house kuš! Komiksi has been publishing their anthology š! for awhile now and #18 may be the most amazing thing they have ever produced. In this edition they highlight what happens when poets and cartoonists come together.
kuš! Komiksi claims, “This issue presents you a wide range of international poetry comics. Some of the contributions are visual adaptations of existing poems, others are collaborative efforts between poets and comic artists, but mostly they genuinely are poems as comics or comics as poems.”
Poetry comics (or comics poems) are unlike anything I’ve experienced before with either form by itself. Something new happens when you take the visual efficiency of comics and suffuse it with the lexical efficiency of poetry. Vice-versa, when the imagistic language of poetry is illuminated with the linework of comics, some of your synaptic junctions alight with new intensity in the process of understanding. It’s exquisite and gorgeous and graceful and a feast for your brain and your eyes.
Of particular note are the poem comics “The Song of the Red Swimming Pants” by Tina Lehikoinen and “Brick” by Martins Zutis and Arvis Viguls for their emotional depth, use of the medium, and expansiveness.