Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A pedant may look at a poet

07:30:00 Posted by Damp incendiary device , , , , , , , 3 comments

Guest post by David Riley.

The pedant sat beside me. I didn’t know he was a pedant at the time but forgive me for jumping ahead. I drank my beer, tried to watch the sports channel.
“Tell me what you know on poetry about comic strips.” I knew it was him wheezing the question; I tried to stay calm, didn’t blurt out denials about being involved in that dirty poetry habit. All in all I thought I’d taken it kinda well.
“Who wants to know?” I didn’t take my eyes off the screen.
“Let’s start with me.” Then I noticed he was wearing winklepickers. Anyone who’d get his own toes to cosy up to each other was no man to trifle with. “Poems and comic strips have a lot in common,” I began to waffle. “Comic strips are sorta like Haiku, compressed poems. Also, you got maybe four panes to tell your story. Pictures and words.” Out of the corner of his eye I could see him using a toothpick. I drank some beer, played for time.
“Or no words at all. People have to interpret the pictures. Like poetry, see?” I was pleased with that one. He began playing with the toothpick, running it finger to finger like a silver dollar.
“Or if they use words in strips, the drawer – writer – has to decide where to put them on the page. Like poets have to decide how to put their words in lines.” That should hold the old guy. I felt smug, took my beer. He snapped the toothpick.
“You’re making me tense, kid.”
“Surely that’s right,” I said in a rush, “there’s a lot of overlap between poems and comic strips…” His right winklepicker began to tap. In overdrive. “What did I ask you?”
I whimpered.
“I asked what you know on poetry about comic strips. You got an F kid.”
“You’ve told me how they might be alike. Poems and comic strips. I know one about them. Liz Lockhead, Scotch guy. Look it up why dontcha?”
“I will. I’ll do that.”
“One poem. One measly poem. What does that tell ya son?”
I bibbled.
“Think there’s any more? Maybe your friends know? Answers on a post card. Or in a comments box near you.” I don’t think I’ve seen the last of the pedant.



Adele said...

I love the way you draw your audience straight into your world David. So easy and natural.

Ashley R Lister said...


It's always a pleasure to see you on here. Thanks for approaching this week's theme with such an innovative eye.


Anonymous said...

Winklepickers, eh? Them shits is worse than cowboy boots for being downright uncomfortable. To look at a grown man wearing them, that is. In my part of the world, both styles are generally considered effete. Whatevs, though, yes?