Yesterday, I finished typing "Current: An Interactive Poetry Comic" at the Bown Crossing Library. It felt great to see this project come to fruition! It should be available in its entirety on the Library's site some time this fall.
Here was my approach to the project (though I ended up letting people choose the verb for the first poem, too):
"Words are adventures that take us somewhere, especially when used to create art. Stories, poems, and fables teach us, transport us, and lift our dreams. In this spirit of adventure, I am inviting participants to join me on a journey called “Current: An Interactive Poetry Comic.” Inspired by everything from nature and travel to role-playing video games and the Choose Your Own Adventure books popular in the 1980s and 1990s, I will write an initial poem that sets the stage for our quest. From there, participants will draw verbs from two receptacles—one containing active, energy-building words, the other containing gentle, calming ones—and choose between them to determine the next step in this tale-in-verse. Whether we slay monsters or grind herbs into medicine is up to you, and together, we will uncover new knowledge of our decisions and ourselves. Selected illustrations will make this journey multimodal in a nod to the picture book fairy tales that inspire us as children, as well as the emerging genre of poetry comics. Combining the dual definitions of the word, “Current” celebrates the living immediacy of the event, the unspooling paper of Vox Poplar, and the currents that propel us through air and water in the many stories told by our imaginations."
Here are a few images from the process. "Current" ended up being 75 poems in all, each with a 1x1" watercolor painting that related to its themes.
One of the things I liked best about "Current" is that the final product looks handmade. The poems were typed on the vintage typewriter that came with Vox Poplar; I drew, painted, cut, and pasted the images by hand; and I made corrections to the text manually with white-out. It felt almost like making an art book.
I'll be sure to share the link once it's live. Boise, thanks for a great time at the Library!