Welcome to Sunday Morning Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer.
This month, to remind us poetry is often hidden in plain sight all around us, just waiting for us to unpack it, Lyricality’s Founding Director Tracy Rittmueller shares Poems and Poets as Gifts.
Dennis Vogen has been a gift in my life through his more than 20-year friendship with my son, during which Dennis and I have enjoyed many writer-to-writer conversations on the nature of reading and writing. A few years ago, he challenged me to reconsider my bias against graphic novels and graphic poems, which my limited perspective imagined as something less than literature. I had been narrow-mindedly bemoaning the devolution of the verbal age of printed books into the pictorial age of graphic stories, film, and GIFS. But if reading is the literary act of co-creating a story by making sense of authors’ and printers’ ink marks on paper, why can’t the literary creator combine both letters and lines to create an artful narrative or expression?
Dennis led me to see that the rise of the graphic novel is not a devolution from the modern age of the printing press back to the medieval age of pictorial representation, but instead, an evolution of writing and reading into a sophisticated form of subtlety and complexity.
When “reading” The Path, notice the lines, shapes, and colors on the page, as well as the words and where they are placed. Have you ever experienced an event–a change–that moved you from clearly carved certainty into an uncertainty so profound that it made you wonder whether certainty is something we make, similar to the act of drawing a line down the center of a page?–Tracy Rittmueller
Dennis Vogen is a Minnesota-based writer and artist who has released seven books in his time on this planet; his work ranges from fiction to non-fiction to comic books that walk the fence between the two. He is currently working on Brushfire, his first all-ages graphic novel, and you can dig into his current catalog and blog at dennisvogen.com