Poetry Potpourri

So just going through things figuring out what to post that’s well documented and will translate into this medium.  I thought I’d bust out this little piece and give some background on it. Years ago I read about the cut up method used by Burroughs and invented by his friend Brion Gysin. Gysin’s method expanded on ideas introduced by Breton and the Dadaists. I was really interested in trying the method myself, as a kind of formal experiment.

In the early 90’s I made a few poems using some of the cut and paste methods, usually opening a book (usually Brewer’s dictionary of Phrase & Fable) closing my eyes and pointing a blind finger to a word like a fleshly, not at all pointy dart. It evolved from there with many different methods and results. Whether it was usable as a piece of writing or not, something usually came out of the process.

After a long break I dusted off these little intuitive word-finding experiments last year. This time I typed the entire definition of the word I’d randomly pointed to rather than just the word. There were a number of top-secret and patented steps, some involving a fedora, a frog and a carrot (not really the carrot.)

I eventually had a bunch of text to string together in lines which I then printed out and cut into horizontal strips. Then I opened a nice looking jar and crammed the word laden strips into it. It had a pleasing effect, more visual than cognitive, almost decorative, but in keeping with the discovery method that brought me to the text.

This set off a kind of associative storm in me about poems in jars, or poem nests or potpourri poetry, nests of words assembled in glass containers based on a theme. For example making a jar that contains the lyrics to your favorite song. It would be tubular for a fan of let’s say Visions of Johanna by Dylan to see those amazing lyrics all cut up into strips, winding in and out of each other, touching each other in places they were never meant to touch. Perhaps making even more feverish prophetic connections or finally making sense all while looking smart in a pretty jar with a nice cork lid. Cool. Or I don’t know, your favorite childhood memory oblique and recontextualized to free other memories, or something . . .a healthy shrine to the past.

Anyway, so I had these ideas but didn’t get past the first couple of Brewer’s based word salad exercises until I came home from a walk last October with a poem. It sounds like I found it and it followed me home — which of course is true.

I typed the poem, put my special personalized handwriting font on it (which I can’t blasted use in WordPress!) typed it out on nice sky blue paper and cut the sucker into strips. I think it turned out well, the pictures don’t do much justice. I have some others nests/jars that use several colors of paper that look nice as well, but this is the most successful. Here are some pictures and a little photoshop-douchery by me, followed by the words of the poem. IMHO the poem itself isn’t amazing, more in service to the larger piece.




~ by 15wattLasVegas on May 28, 2010.

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