i did this initially for an assignment for a rob mclennan workshop. we had to take one of our poems and extract words from it to make a new poem. here's the stuff i wrote about it at the time:
i chose "red" since it was the longest i've written this session at seventy seven words. when i reread "red", its symbolic meaning is what stood out. extracting words took away from that symbolic meaning and left what? mostly single lines (attempt 1), yet when i looked at these individual lines, they felt arbitrary, causing my spidey senses to tingle. what's the difference between arranging words myself and simply leaving it to chance? likely chance is a better writer than me.
to investigate this question i cut the words up, and shuffled them around.(attempt 2). This method inspired interesting form possibilities and sound patterns, but still i felt constrained by the groupings i had forced on these words…
so i strung them from the ceiling, making a word mobile. depending on where you look, you see different combinations of words or even single words and they resonate or don't in their own peculiar and particular way. (attempt 3).
- the words "poem," "poetry" and "poet" mess me up. i try to conform to this inner nag droning on and on about what a poem is supposed to be; i enforce line breaks for no particular reason, fall into precious language and unnatural syntax;
- the most interesting thing for me to do is to experiment, to play and push boundaries;
- my word choices and combinations are more arbitrary than i realized; the trick is finding the combination that resonates;
- i want to do something no one else has done or would have done the same way; to me that is the act of creation: to make something out of nothing, to put something in the world that didn't exist before, not just chewing, swallowing and regurgitating;
- the exercise dug the words out of the ruts they were in and caused me to look at them from a new (new) angle(s), reminding me that deconstruction is another good technique for revision.
rembrandt root madness
red emp shun
plasma in utero see
emb ironic new of
sum 1 more
works cerebral cortez
is angered is cape at bull
hemingways ambulance ambulatory
war patterned ink dirt corp
thru china silk
persian carpet flaw
motif a dance of
for memory taste
Amanda Earl writes and lives juicy in Ottawa, Canada. Her poems have appeared most recently on line at Latchkey.net, Leafpress.ca and Logolalia.com, and will soon be appearing in Ottawater.com 3.0. Some of her poetry is also in print, most recently in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine and Variations. She's the managing editor of the Ottawa on line journal Bywords.ca and the Bywords Quarterly Journal. Her erotic fiction has been published at sites such as the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and Unlikely 2.0, as well as in anthologies by Alyson Books, Cleis Press, Carroll and Graff and Thunder's Mouth.