Friday, June 13, 2014

Janet Malcolm's collage "Abyss (from the Emily Dickinson Series)", 2013, with text from Marta Werner's Emily Dickinson's Open Folios: Scenes of Reading, Surfaces of Writing (University of Michigan Press, 1996).
"During the winter, spring and summer of 2013 I made collages that yoked Marta's transcriptions of the Dickinson fragments with images with images I cut out of store-bought books on astronomy," Malcolm explains in Granta, here; see more images on Slate, here.

Also, Radical Scatters: Emily Dickinson's Fragments and Related Texts, 1870-1886 (University of Michigan Press, 2000), viewable at the Dickinson Electronic Archives. Of particular interest: the images in "Mutilations: what was erased, inked over, and cut away," here.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


From my own recent folded-poem project: 


"For the desperate song, the need in the night"

 

one star = one line of the poem

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