[ excerpts ]
BS: For me, what’s so exciting about working on poetry comics is that it’s so unbridled. I’m such a serious poet—when I write a poem, it’s got to be perfect to be published and make a book. When I do a poetry comic, I feel so much more free to experiment and be messy and go all over the place, and I find it kind of liberating. It’s liberating especially in the structure. I found that poetry workshops can be so claustrophobic and uninspiring and not generative. And then something like taking a poem and putting it with your own images—it’s totally a relief and full of excitement.
PT: That was my experience too, that I was sick in my MFA by the end—of being told that I needed to be something else. When I did poetry comics, I could just make the thing that I felt moved to make, and it wasn’t going to be compared to anything else. Because nobody in my MFA program was doing anything like that. I could own it, and the terms with which I approached it were my own, and I didn’t have to meet some precedent or ideal that had already been established, and that was such a beautiful thing. Exactly what I needed to have when I started making work without any kind of workshop structure.
|Paul K. Tunis|
AR: I haven’t had many people say something like that to me outright, but I feel like I get that attitude quite a bit, going to conventions and things. I recently met a comics historian and when I told him I mix the forms, he said, “Why do you do that?”
AR: But isn’t that the story of the world, that we always hate or are most annoyed by things that remind us of ourselves?