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And so the Word had breath, and wrought With human hands the creed of creeds In loveliness of perfect deeds, More strong than all poetic thoughts; Which he may read that binds the sheaf, Or builds the house, or digs the grave, And those wild eyes that watch the waves In roarings round the coral reef.
A play’s an interpretation. It is not a report. And that is the beginning of its poetry because, in order to interpret, you have to distort toward a symbolic construction of what happened, and as that distortion takes place, you begin to leave out and overemphasize and consequently deliver up life as a unity rather than as a chaos, and any such attempt, the more intense it is, the more poetic it becomes.
I am an avid follower of the news, and sometimes you just can’t take any more war, any more disasters, and you want to remind yourself there’s beauty in the world. I wanted to show a more poetic side to my work. It was all about… a feeling of sadness, but in a cinematic kind of way. I find beauty in melancholy.
Sometimes I’m drawing onto a computer directly, sometimes I’m drawing on paper , so I can’t really talk about drafts. It’s just like having soft clay until it hardens. At least as much of the problem has to do with the decisions of what to represent, how to represent that, and how to reduce it down. The words in the balloons aren’t particularly poetic necessarily, but it has the same problem as poetry, which is that one has to do great reduction. And if I tried to draw everything, you’d just have a tangled mess of a picture. The stripping down takes much longer than building up.
I am drawn to people that are not going to shy away from the very dark, scary stuff of the human condition and in a lot of cases people need alcohol or drugs to create poetry and poetic pose that can take you so far out there where you are still able to recognize yourself and then to bring you back home where you’re not the same person you were when you left.
When students are first at the Kerouac School we harp on Gertrude Stein’s very basic poetic insistence that words are things . Not to invalidate your experience or all the great feelings you have, I tell them. Although poetry may be good for you, it’s not therapy. You’re making something with words which are visceral, muscular, active, not just markers of how you feel. And we have classes studying William Blake, Ezra Pound, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Stein.