Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stuff I Read: “Imaginary Encounters” by Mysh

I despise most poetry.

Spending much of my time as a kid and a teen with books, I embraced novels and comic books, works which spread a broad tableau of clear imagery and abundant words, not just telling a story but building a world.  Poetry, on the other hand, comes off as tight, small, and absorbed, twisting on individual words and phrases to depict a single idea or evoke an emotion.  When you’re used to lots of words building a story, consumed at a fast pace, having to mull over each word and syllable, backtracking over and over to get at the true “meaning” of the poem… it’s slooooooooow.

(Those who “get” poetry are hopefully saying to themselves “Yeah, that’s the point.”  Those who don’t get poetry are probably saying “Yeah, I know what you mean.”)

That said, some specific forms of structured poetry, I have great respect and even love for.  Taking an idea or emotion and capturing it in a limited number of lines, or forcing it into a rhyming couplet (or a limerick!), that awes me.  (So I guess it’s really unstructured, longer form poetry that I can’t stand.  How does that phrase go, “I don’t know what it is, I guess it’s poetry”?)  I’m especially fond of haiku (when done right, at least in the modern Western sense; some people think just three short lines of whatever is all it takes, sigh).

I recently got an e-mail from Israeli artist and filmmaker Mysh, pointing me to his site of queer haiku comics, “Imaginary Encounters”.  Wow!  Could stuff get any better than that?  Combining the elegance of haiku with shortform cartooning, usually illuminating rather than illustrating.

Highly recommended.  Not safe for work, though; some of the cartoons contain sexual imagery.

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