Friday, May 31, 2024




Before I started writing and living poetry, which was about the same time I was studying judo, there was that time I picked up my father's pen, who was drawing out blueprints for construction jobs he was planning at the dining room table where we were both stationed, and in his dawdle away from the serious work, he would show me one more cartoon sketch he'd come up with, and I'd try to copy the flair and humor he had caught. I'm still drawing (see my book Poets Who Sleep), the judo outfit was worn into tatters, but the poetry is here every day. . .even if I see that most American poetry has expanded into a business, polemics and babbling, we still have those drawing cartoons, or what my weekly New Yorker subscription terms "Drawings." When I was a judo-boy at my local Boys' Club, which naturally took me to Japan, funny how it works — it also landed me more into the soft hidden nest of poetry and haiku, which is where I see the very best of the New Yorker drawings, these blessed cartoonists. I've been reading the magazine for now 50 years. Slipping past most of what is called poetry, never mind the short stories (I like to read books and wait to read Thomas McGuane and Alice Munro there) and gloriously catch myself in the flytrap of the cartoons. The best anywhere. I'm not sure if I have all the artists names right since I can barely read their haiku modest signatures, but I believe the three drawings I am showing here are by Andy Friedman, Harry Bliss, and Roland High. Poets if there ever were three.

[ BA ]

Harry Bliss

Roland High

Andy Friedman

The New Yorker

May 27, 2024