Archives for posts with tag: cartoons

by Matsuo Basho, translated by Porky Pig as told to Paul Fericano

Into the quiet of the anci-ancie-ancie—the very old pond
the small f-f-fro, f-f-fro-fro—er, the toad leaps.
The water sound is b-b-beau-b-b-beau-beau—oh, never mind.

IMAGE: Michigan J. Frog & Porky Pig Animation Production Cel, available at

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR: Porky Pig was introduced in the short animated film I Haven’t Got a Hat (first released on March 9, 1935). Known for his stutter, he appeared in 153 Warner Brothers cartoons during the Golden Age of American animation.

ABOUT THE AS TOLD TO AUTHOR: Paul Fericano was a finalist in the Alfred Jarry Foundation’s 2013 Cy Schindell Imaginary Book Prize competition for his notion of a manuscript based on an idea inspired by a Jorie Graham acceptance speech. He was a semifinalist for the 2012 Casaba Melon Poetry Award and has been nominated 56 consecutive times for a Pushcart Prize, tying Joe DiMaggio’s major league record. In 1982, he became the first American poet to enter and leave the U.S. Witness Protection Program.

CAPTION: “I wasn’t texting. I was building this ship in a bottle.”

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Robert Leighton, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


“For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.” ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Cartoon: Harley L. Schwadron, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


CAPTION: “We want to do the whole Jack Kerouac-‘On The Road‘ thing, only with B&B.s.”

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Barbara Smaller, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

CAPTION: “I wasn’t texting. I was building this ship in a bottle.”

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Robert Leighton, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Cartoonist Matt Diffee offers insight into the creative process by explaining how he developed his “Skywriter’s Block” cartoon. (Read the entire article at the New Yorker.)

I started by jotting down the words “writer’s block.”…I started by playing with those words. First I thought of alternative meanings of the words themselves. So “writer’s block” could be a city block where writers live. It could be writers playing with children’s building blocks, or a football block performed by a writer. You can see there’s probably a joke to be had among those options, but I don’t think it would be a very good one. Might be more “punny” than funny.

You could mess around with the “writer” part of the phrase, too, and make it “rider’s block.” You could take that as far as you wanted and get “horse-rider’s block” or “subway-rider’s block.” I don’t think I pursued that angle very much.

I mostly thought in terms of replacing the “writer” with another occupation. I jotted down things like “dentist’s block,” “taxidermist’s block,” “proctologist’s block,” “ventriloquist’s block,” and then a bunch of occupations that end in “-er” like “plumber’s block” and “butcher’s block” (which has its own punny potential).

In the end, I found the gag by adding words to the phrase. Where can you add words to it? In the middle? Not really. At the end? “Writer’s block and tackle.” “Writer’s blockade.” At the beginning? Sure, “copywriter’s block,” “grant-writer’s block,” then eventually I came to “skywriter’s block” and BAM, there’s the idea…

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Matt Diffee, all rights reserved

Image CAPTION: “I got tired of Moby-Dick taunting me from my bookshelf, so I put it on my Kindle and haven’t thought of it since.”

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by WIlliam Haefeli, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED — prints for sale at

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by David Pascal, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints for sale at


For a real-life farmers market poetry vendor, check out this feature at (article and video) about Meredith Clark, a Seattle-area author who writes poems for customers on the spot — for free on a manual typewriter. (Photo of Meredith Clark by Zachary D. Lyons, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)


by Meredith Clark

Garlic, too, works
through the weather,
builds roots that way,
grows taller, never falters.
It, too, shows up
with earth in its skin,
braids tightly together
the land and those
who live it. Both
leave bright traces,
some sharp, clean taste
on all the hands
they touch. Both make
from the inside out
their own new scape.

“For Arlene” was commissioned by Ballard Farmers Market from Meredith Clark of the Poem Store in loving memory of Arlene Dabrusca of Anselmo Farms.

by A Chicken

The crossing
is within.
There is no
other side.

CREDIT: “Chicken Poetry Reading” cartoon by Doug Savage, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

by A Far Side Cow

The distant hills call to me.
Their rolling waves seduce my heart.
Oh, how I want to graze in their lush valleys.
Oh, how I want to run down their green slopes.
Alas, I cannot.
Damn the electric fence!
Damn the electric fence!

CREDIT: Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED