Out today: Poetry is Useless by Anders Nilsen

Pages from Anders Nilsen's newest release, Poetry is Useless, may look like excerpts from a sketchbook, but the book as a whole reads like a graphic novel. And Nilsen may sound like a nihilist (poetry is useless!), but he seems to be more curious than disillusioned about being in the world.

Themes come and go in Poetry is Useless. Nilsen muses on love, war, religion, God, and the meaning of it all. Statements introduced on one page are expanded upon (obliquely, always) several fragmented pages later. For example, on page 3 an anonymous black drawn figure says, "love is like an ocean."

And on page 32 the figure rejoins, "I hate the ocean. Because it is full of dead people."

Included in the book are travel diaries from Nilsen's trip to Columbia and from around North America and Europe.

Also included are portraits done in pen ink of friends and fellow cartoonists, including Lynda Barry and Matt Groening.

Poetry is Useless encompasses seven years of Nilsen's sketchbook drawings, from 2007-2014, covering much of his comics career. Sure to satisfy committed Nilsen fans, it includes visual references to some of his past works, including Dogs & Water, Rage of Poseidon, and Big Questions. However, for those unfamiliar with Nilsen's past work, Poetry is Useless serves as a nice introduction to the artist and his unique approach to art and life.

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