Friday, August 5, 2016

How Is a Poem Like a Cartoon?

from My Family Tree by Dusan Petricic

For Poetry Friday, here's a little something I read over at the Art of the Picture Book blog. It's from an interview of the Serbian/Canadian illustrator and political cartoonist Dusan Petricic (author/illustrator of My Family Tree):

I love poetry. I think it is the most important field in literature for me. With poetry you have to be very precise, very focused and explain simple things. There’s always something a little bit conceptual in each poem. So I love to do that. It’s a lot to do with my opinion about cartoons in general, not only political cartoons. The cartoon is a way of thinking. So poetry and cartoons are similar to me. And that similarity is very simplistic, with the concept of how to find the right, the most precise way to explain yourself. With the least possible words.” 

Well said!  So my poetry contribution this week is not only that quotation but one of Petricic's cartoons -  a piece of social commentary that definitely explains itself with the least possible words. Think of it as a poem about America in the year 2016.

You'll find the Poetry Friday round-up (and a wonderful poem by Howard Nemerov titled "Summer's Elegy") over at Tara Smith's blog, A Teaching Life. And I have a post up this week at Books Around the Table, featuring a link to the blog mentioned above, Art of the Picture Book. Enjoy!

Dusan Petricic


  1. That cartoon is awesome for this elections. The newspaper could say "Threats to Democracy."

  2. I read the quote several times, Julie.The connection between the two is true, but also there is that elusive part we can't really know, the third party is the reader, what he or she brings to the poem or the cartoon. Wouldn't it be interesting to see how each reacts to this particular one? Thanks for the thoughts!

    1. I love the idea of the art (whether poem or cartoon) providing some connective tissue between the reader and the writer/artist, though I suspect we DO kind of know what our readers bring to our Or maybe I'm just thinking of what the ideal reader brings, because I think that the ideal reader is who we write for. We kind of know their quirks, their ways of processng metaphor, the lens through which they view the world, and we know they will be receptive. Am I wrong?

  3. Fascinating connection! I'll be looking at cartoons differently from now on!

  4. Great way to think about the connection between poetry and cartoons.

  5. Cartoons have never really been my thing, though I do appreciate the connections that Petricic makes. How interesting to now see my own "fear of not understanding" in the same box as all the people out there who dislike poetry because they think it's over their head. Hmmm. Thanks for the food for thought, Julie.

  6. I love the comparison....really makes me think. Thanks!

  7. Hi Julie,
    My name is Bridget Magee. Janet Wong has you and I paired for the "Writing for Journals and Anthologies" workshop at the Poetry Friday conference at WWU on September 30th. I just wanted to touch base with you to introduce myself and open a dialog about our workshop talk. My contact information is or
    Take care, Bridget