9 Poetry Comics

Jessica Dawn Zinz

What is the significance of this work to you?

I create my hybrid poetry comics and collages because this type of creation is something I just have to do. It is like breathing for me, and if I didn't create art, I don't think I'd be mentally well. It is very meditative for me. Sometimes, I spend time cutting out images for collages. Other times I just meditate on words from random books (often associated with psychology or law). I think this ability to just completely open myself to the process is important. Creating art is really one of the only times I am given permission to do anything I want or need to do, and the hybrid forms really accept that even further. This is what I've always needed: more freedoms in creating. 

What is the significance of the form you chose for this work?

I see the power in hybrid work in that can use both image and text to connect with readers and viewers. The flexibility of hybrid work creates freedoms to find new ways to express the things I want to share, the ideas I have, and the messages I want others to feel. The significance of the form is about openness, acceptance, and honesty-- all things we need in a world that has so much going on right now. I used to feel like my poetry wouldn't reach as many people as I wanted it to because the form was restricted, ignoring that an image could also be paired with a visual to emphasize, add, or completely turn the narrative elements of a piece. Hybrid work opens so many doors, leaving the elevator doors open so that viewers can listen to the music but still see it all. Hybrid poems and comics are so much like elevators going up and down with the doors open. A motor turns the sheave much like the text turns the images. The cables are attached to the cart (cab) of the elevator, just like the image and text are attached to one another and don't function well separately. Gears connect the motor and sheave too, just like the smaller elements of hybrid work. I don't know if this is still about the significance of the form, but I do hope that this open-door elevator is more engaging and inviting. I hope that viewers spend more time looking around in this open elevator than they might in an elevator with closed doors and no visual elements. 

What was your process for creating this work?

I have talked to many artists about this, and I have often been hesitant to share my process, because it feels very personal. More than the poems themselves, I fear being dismissed for my process. I do not sit down and sit up straight and surround myself with literature. I do not find the right lighting or turn on the right music or find the right pen (well, I am pretty picky about my pens). Instead, I set myself up in a position to free my mind during a stressful time. I grab scissors, magazines other people said they were done with, my writer's notebook, and my ipad. I turn on the television and let Hulu play some trashy tv or some crime documentary, and then I get to work. I work hard to let myself discover in the making. I don't set plans. That strategy always fails me. I let myself be the medium for my work. I want to be the spiritual media for voices of loss, grief, intrigue, and all senses, emotions, and intellect. Now, that is certainly not where I'm at right now, but I think of myself as reaching to be an intuitive medium trying to uncover and expose what needs to be shared with others. I want to discover the purpose of each piece and reveal what is at stake for us all. My process is one that requires complete openness in order to get there. That is what I reach for every time I sit down to create. 

Jessica Dawn Zinz is a writer, professor, and artist living in Ohio. She has a Creative Writing MFA and teaches at Bowling Green State University. Her poetry has been published in literary journals. As well, most recently, she has a poetry comic forthcoming in "This Quarantine Life" published by The Art Students League of New York. She is currently working on visual poetry, comics poetry, collage, and other hybrid writing and art. Some of her work can also be found on her Instagram: @jessicadawnzinzart