Creative writing and comics have more in common than you might think. Image has been a cornerstone of poetry for a century.  We ask that writers “show” instead of “tell.” When we hear a good story, we want to be able to visualize it. More and more artists are starting to draw from creative writing to create autobiographical and lyrical comics. Memoir is perhaps one of the most democratic forms of writing—anyone who has lived and been passionate about a subject can write one. Many of the autobiographix (drawn memoir) we will read in this course act as eyewitness accounts of history. Students will delve into coming of age stories that take place during wars and social upheaval. They will explore lyricism and its relationship to image, the power of text when joined with art, and the various forms in which we can create poetry and memoir comics.

In this block course, students will enroll in two sections of UHON 302 to practice writing and sketching both poetry and essay comics. They will analyze examples, learn the history of comics, and ultimately, create their own comics. There will be opportunity to create and experiment in class, and workshop works in progress. Open to creatives of all levels and abilities—no background in art or creative writing necessary.


Student Learning Objectives:

  •       Analyze, critically interpret, and evaluate examples of poetry comics and autobiographix within their interdisciplinary, cultural, and historical contexts;
  •       Construct a high-quality graphic essay/memoir or poetry comic that synthesizes the theory, techniques, and skills from art, narrative, and lyricism;
  •       Discuss the craft and theory of poetry comics and autobiographix;
  •     Increase writing and drawing proficiency through several short sequential art poems/essays characterized by original and insightful theses, supported by logically-flowing transitions, characterization, scenes, expression of line, and layout;
  •       Integrate ideas and methods from different disciplines, including creative writing, graphic design, and fine arts.





Scott McCloud Understanding Comics

Zeke Pena Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide

Alison Bechdel Fun Home

John Lewis March Trilogy

Marjane Satrapi The Complete Persepolis

Art Spiegelman The Complete Maus

Lucy Knisley An Age of License

Bianca Stone Book of Hours


Selections from:

Mary Karr The Art of Memoir

Mary Oliver A Poetry Handbook

Taylor Branch Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63

Mary Fleener Life of the Party

Joe Brainard I Remember

Julie Doucet Carpet Sweeper Tales

Ariel Schrag Likewise

Lynda Barry 100 Demons

Hilary Chute Disaster Drawn

Troy Lovata (dissertation)

Matt Feazell Understanding Minicomics

Stephen McCranie



Several in-class assignments

Five take-home assignments

Two Presentations

10-12-page final comic

One short reflection and analysis essay

You will need:

sketchbook, pencils, pens, ruler