Stolen Found Poetry

We’ve been committing poetry at the Patchwork Mind compound, this Friday morning. I wrote out the first two English verses of The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and the entirety of Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, cut them into individual words and put them in a hat. A baseball cap, to be precise. Then I pulled out words at random, and wrote them down until a story began to emerge. Then I tweaked and shifted and swapped lines around, until the following emerged, ‘The Rage Song of J. Alfred’, or ‘That Gentle Question…’

I was inspired by my interest in collage; I’ve been trying to ask myself lately how I can apply techniques in one area of my creative activities to other areas. This mention of Tristan Tarza doing similar with newspapers was what gave me the idea.

The bits that are highlighted are ‘straight out of the hat’ – they’re phrases that I pulled out of the hat as-is, unaltered. The others I tweaked, changing a tense or adding a word here or there. I was genuinely surprised by how many of the lines I got I actually liked. I thought they would be far less coherent. There was still loads that I ended up not using, too.

To my mind it tells a distinctive story, but I’m interested if it comes out that way to other poeple.

The Hatred of Poetry – Ben Lerner (Review)

By expecting it to live up to its platonic ideal, created by mythologising expectations of things it can supposedly do — produce transcendental feelings; change the world; speak to an individual and universal experience at the same time; restructure and reform society through shock — we learn to hate poetry.

That’s the central premise of Lerner’s monograph. It’s one I find myself broadly supporting.

Continue reading “The Hatred of Poetry – Ben Lerner (Review)”

The Author is a Thief

It’s World Poetry Day today! Happy Poetry Day! Just wanted to share a little fun that I wrote about a month ago. Comments?


The Author is a Thief

The expectation is for me to convey,
With each turning of the phrase…

Days may come and go,
A green, orange, grey zoetrope,
Passing with each beat, breath or letter,
A river of silk-soft sand,
Countless, until the last few grains are left.
A few left in the palm,
Seeds precious to a starving man,
Planted in wasteful soil,
They yield withered fruit.
Continue reading “The Author is a Thief”