A History of Poetry Comics #01


Words and drawing have gone together for centuries.

My first encounter with the idea that drawings can provide context for words and that words can provide meaning for drawings came through the illuminated poetry of William Blake (1757-1827).

I must have been hungover when they taught the English master in Lit class (anyway I was more into the Beats than the Romantics). Instead I was led to Blake through punk music and specifically Patti Smith (who still stops to read Blake’s poetry at her concerts). In 1977 I was struck by the power words and punk music had to transcend the mundane and deliver an immediacy. I experienced the same power, this time between words and drawing when I encountered Blake’s illuminated poetry.

Blake’s drawings for his poems Songs of Innocence and of Experience are testaments to words/drawings leading to deeper meaning/context. The illumination for his poem “The Tyger” (published…

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