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The Art of the Possible!: Comics Mainly Without Pictures Paperback

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Editorial Reviews


"Koch has wedded the virtues of old and new sensibilities into a scintillating, vigorous, surprising life-giving poetry. It's a great book."

From the Author

In 1992, Kenneth decided that not only could he borrow subject matter or adapt a narrative technique from comics but it might be possible to write poetry in a new form based on them. The Art of the Possible is the fruit of that decision. It is as high-spirited as Koch’s fans would expect and extraordinarily inventive in treating the comic strip as a conceptual form 'mainly without pictures.' Koch’s comics can work like the Calligrammes of Apollinaire (consider 'Bosom Comics') or like a box chart ('Different Kinds of Guys'). As happened earlier when he wrote One Thousand Avant-Garde Plays, once the idea took hold with Kenneth, he went to town with it, creating sequences and subsequences: 'Kenya Comics,' 'Autobiography Comics,' 'Hotel Igura Comics.' These works are enchanting, smart, funny, and, in Duke Ellington’s phrase, beyond category. My own favorite is 'The Dead White Man' sequence with its corrosive wit reminiscent of 'Fresh Air.' The eponymous hero gets the last word: 'If but one person reads me, then I am not really dead!!!'

When I visited Kenneth six weeks before he died in July 2002, he made a point of saying how close to his heart was his poetry comic book still unpublished though nine years had gone by since he had first shown me the manuscript. Now thanks to the efforts of a whole raft of people, it’s here. I wish Kenneth were around to enjoy it. But what am I saying? Like the hero of 'The Dead White Man,' Kenneth is not really dead. Rather he has, like the star of his favorite Romantic poet’s elegy for Keats, outsoared the shadow of our night. You, dear reader, are keeping him alive." --David Lehman, from his introduction --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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