Sunday, August 9, 2009

Matthea Harvey & Poetry Comic Insights

Matthea Harvey is really amazing. She has constantly been an advocate for poetry and comics, and even teaches a whole class on it at Sarah Lawrence. Besides her poetry, she has has been working on some amazing projects such as OF LAMB: A collaboration with Amy jean Porter, and this animated poem on Poetry foundation:
Shiver & You Have Weather : Poetry Everywhere : Video : The Poetry Foundation

She recently sent me a package of poetry comic stuff that she has been accumulating. One is from Dr. Chevalier Jackson's Foreign Body Collection; things taken out of bodies, like tiny Cupie dolls and battleships from two-year-old throats. It's really incredible. The images are somewhere between photo and drawing diagram. Safety pins and bent jumbled nails and buttons. I love the semi-detached fascination in the blurbs below the images of things pulled out of people's bodies. i.e. "This battleship was extracted from the esophagus of a two year old female with child's size esophageal speculum and laryngeal forceps." It's the middle ground between science/medicine and poetry/art that I find enthralling and that clearly Harvey does too. There's a grotesqueness but also a humanness in that.

She also sent a sample of Saseo Ono (1905-1954) picture diaries. Strange and immediate, I love the small notes beside each image, such as: "After drinking sake, my first painting of the year. (Tiger means 'drunk") in the afternoon I saw a beautiful woman in Asakusa." His art, with an excellent 30's twinge (an innovative time for cartoonists I feel) has a refreshing mix between east and west traditions. It's incredibly inspiring.

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