Monday, November 25, 2013

One of  Francesca Capone's Poem Weavings (undated). See more images here and here and here. Some discussion with Capone here.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Alastair Noble's Blake Illuminated (2002), here. Noble explains how "slots in metal pages replace the words" of William Blake's poem, "Earth's Answer" from Songs of Experience (1794). See more of Noble's wonderful sculptures here (definitely check out Zang Tumb Tumb!), read some discussion of his sculptural work here.
Blake's own illumination of "Earth's Answer"


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


John Eric Broaddus's High Time (1986). "I had no qualms about eliminating the entire text," Broaddus explains here. View more of his work here, here, and here; watch Johanna Drucker discussing his work here, a list of exhibitions here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Susan Porteous's The Essential Gandhi (Green Bird Press 2012). "By finding books written about Gandhi and systematically spinning each page to make a continuous paper thread, the record of his life become intertwined with the spinning process. Each spun book is wound onto an antique spool of the appropriate size and the title of each work is appropriated from the book used in its creation," she explains here. More on her website, here.

The Essential Gandhi (Vintage Books 1962, 2002)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Donna Ruff's "May 16, 2011," -- "'I like to cut away or remove parts of pages so that there is a kind of conversation between what is printed on the page and what is removed--the positive and negative space are equally important,"' she explains at The Huffington Post,here. More images here; Ruff's blog, here, and her website with more altered paper projects here. "I’m attracted to paper’s fragility and pristine beauty- yet my work involves scarring, incising, burning and puncturing its surface," here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ros Rixon's "Violence in the Art," which looks to be from John Fraser's Violence in the Arts (Cambridge UP, 1974). "I am often asked if I think of the idea before I find a book or the other way around? I tend to work both ways," Rixon explains. More altered books and sculptures on her site, here

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Darkness, 2012
We might have missed Yedda Morrison's interactive erasure exhibit, but we can get our very own copy of her full-length book Darkness (Make Now, 2012), an erasure of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1899). A group of student responses to her work, other reviews and reactions here and here. My previous post with a link to Morrison's Chapter 1, here.
The 1950 Signet Classics edition of Conrad's Heart of Darkness

Friday, March 22, 2013

A mixed-media miniature from Karen Green's "Tiny Stampede," here. Green explains, "I've been making this "found poetry" for years. I thought I invented it, but found out later I most definitely did not. Some of these are taken from a poetry anthology--I cut out just the first lines and spent an afternoon or two rearranging them. Then I got into a trance and cut those up and rearranged those. Trances are hard to come by these days; I am happy for those hours. And yes, "to give sorrow words", sneakily, using the words of others who tried to do the same," in an interview here (and also here).
Green's forthcoming book including similar visual/poetic work Bough Down (Siglio Press 2013), is an "unusual narrative constructed of crystalline fragments of prose interspersed with miniature collages." Some discussion of Bough Down here. See/read some images and excerpts here, here and here. More with Green here and here, a previous publication, Here/Gone (2008), here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Next Big Thing



settings for these scenes (Convulsive Editions, 2013)
1. What is the working title of the book? 
settings for these scenes

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Literally, from Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927). The copy I used was published in 1955, and all the text in setting for these scenes is from a single paragraph of the novel. The paragraph begins: But whose foot was he thinking of, and in what garden did all this happen?
To the Lighthouse (Harvest Books, 1955)
3. What genre does your book fall under? 
Poetry, though it is carved from fiction. Also erasure, found poetry, appropriation, maybe conceptual writing.... 

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Well, the wind is a character, and the light(s). There's a garden. It's tough to think of actors who could pull off just being shadow, or scenery. 

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
“these scenes were drawn, like a  leaf”

6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
For this type of project, it's difficult to pin down what exactly a draft is. Maybe the selection of source text was one draft? That took a week or so, though I'd been circling around doing a project of this nature -- thinking I should perform some "legitimate" literary erasure to compliment my research into the form -- for some months and struggled a lot over potential source material.... But once I had an audience more firmly in mind (see #7), I was able to narrow my options and turn to Woolf. 

There are also multiple versions of the book. The first was a handbound nine-poem volume that I completed as a gift in 2011. But once I started carving out poems from Woolf's paragraph it became pretty addictive--it was exciting that the same language could be selected or manipulated into so many different sets. Like the best game of Boggle ever, really. I made over sixty erasures of Woolf's paragraph before telling myself that enough was enough. settings for these scenes includes 13 of these poems. I probably spent six months or so gathering these erasures. 

7. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Certainly the literature I've been lucky enough to study as part of my dissertation has influenced this project -- you'd only need to skim through my blog to see the kind of work I've been paying attention to recently. Ken Campbell's artist book Father's Garden (1988), which I was lucky enough to see in person at The Getty library in 2009, has a structure of obscuring and delaying the experience of the poem, which I'm sure in some way inspired my choices in settings. Too, I really enjoy the permutative work Gregory Betts does in The Others Raisd in Me (2009) and Caroline Bergvall's varied repetitions in her long poem "Via (48 Dante Variations)" (2003?).

Trying to list sources of inspiration is, too, just an example of selective memory. It's probably relevant to admit that I've been practicing this type of composition for some time, pretty much since a high-school English teacher let us make cut-outs of magazine language in order to create a poem. settings for these scenes is not the first book that I haven’t written. A Margaret Atwood chapbook (circa ~2002, discussed further here) is likely a more direct precursor to this project. Too, a little Alice in Wonderland dos-a-dos cut-up that I made at USC, does similar work obscuring and revealing elements of Lewis Carroll's original prose, while book-ifying and poet-icising the source text.

Alice's Alphabet (2010)
To be even more specific about the beginnings of settings for these scenes, for Mother's Day 2011 my mom asked me to write her some poems. Since I dislike being told to write poems, and I had been thinking about performing such a project for some time, my solution was to not-write some poems for her and bind them into a little book. (I'd post a picture of the handmade 2011 settings, but I only made one. Hi, Mom!) Anyway, having an audience in mind made it easier to select a source text. My mom likes nature, and gardening, and rocks, among other things. Most text written on these subjects is so unliterary that excavating multiple poems--let alone a single poem--from the same chunk of text would be ugly and/or impossible. So I turned to literary passages, and when I thought of Woolf's awesome density of language, I knew I was onto something! So, I made the 2011 settings, and then I kept on with the project of repeated poetic excising, as I said in #6, until it almost started interfering with the other work I had to do.

8. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Nate and Nikki made beautiful letterpressed covers for this chapbook! I can't get enough of the alien-green repeating shells on the cover.

9. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Convulsive Editions will publish the book. Come to the reading in March at AWP and get your hands on a fresh copy! Or you can buy it on their website, of course. 
  
10. My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:
Bryan Hurt, Stephanie Schlaifer, Vanessa Hua, & Karen Greenbaum-Maya

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


 HOLLY MELGARD
THE MAKING OF THE AMERICANS
TROLL THREAD 2012
PURCHASE | DOWNLOAD
Holly Melgard's The Making of the Americans (Troll Thread, 2012), in which she deletes all repeated words from her source text (Gertrude Stein's The Making of Americans (1925)). Melgard's work is viewable online here.

Melgard explains, "Poems can exploit what it is in books that makes texts appear as “text”; how their distributions and multiple frameworks of production may play a material role in their composure, their poetics. Like Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans, which gets called 'unreadable' because it’s super 'repetitive'.... NOW 'there is no such thing as repetition' in The Making of Americans, because I deleted it." 

Read more of Melgard's ideas over at Elective Affinities, here

Plus, it's listed (along with some other interesting and conceptual work) as one of the top poetry books of 2012 by MS Magazine! (Thanks, Harriet, for the link.) 

We can also purchase a physical copy of Melgard's work here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

from Karl LaRocca's Moby-Dick Compressed -- "An erasure of Moby-Dick removing every instance of a word following its initial appearance in the novel" in Issue 5 of The Agriculture Reader, here. "Larocca wrote a computer program that spat out the first words of every sentence in the novel, then he jammed on from there," they explain over at Electric Literature, here.

P.S. -- if you'd rather drink your books, you might try Rogue Brewery's White Whale Ale, infused with pages from Melville's novel.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


From Erica Baum's Dog Ear (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011).

"I’m reauthoring the text in this simple act of folding the paper which creates a new view. I want the compositions to work both formally and linguistically on several levels simultaneously. It looks simple but it’s actually very hard to find ones where everything comes together. I think in order for concrete poetry to succeed it has to operate in both these ways. I’m also adding a third thing to this mix because these have to be found in a book. In this case the constraint is the page sequence....I’m looking for something that in some sense already exists and has the potential to yield something else," Baum says about her project, here.

Some discussion here and here, more images here and here, and many more links on the UDP page, here.