Exercise: Compost mural

From a 20 foot mural my class made today in 50 minutes (give or take). The prompt: using only the materials you have on hand, or can forage from the surrounding environment without breaking the law or hurting anyone’s feelings, express your understanding of “the art of compost” (course title). In other words, a crash course in targeted bricolage.

Photocopier poems

My paper towel star cluster poems. Made in five minutes on the department photocopier (and then some cropping via Picassa.) Somewhere in here, somehow, is the fact of having watched  Under the Skin, the first half, last night. Kinda slow, but the opening sequence, mating planet and iris, seems to have stayed with.

Exercise: Photocopier poem

Here’s their “writing” exercise for tomorrow:

After “reading” the examples, compose a poem by messing around on a photocopier. You should try out several kinds of manipulation (e.g., twisting, turning, shaking, fluttering) on several kinds of original (e.g., text, image, object) before deciding on a practice and a source to commit to. And then don’t be dismayed if it takes further trials to get to a poem you feel pleased enough with to hand in.

I played around on the department photocopier today (keeping a wary eye out for L. who had just cleaned the glass to a sparkle) with paperclips, paper towels, binder tabs. The paper towel rolls came out best & I’ll post them tonight.

Exercise: Strange surfaces

Write a fragment, prose or verse, on an unconventional surface. In other words, what Emily Dickinson does in The Gorgeous Nothings, you do too, on some other inscribable surface.

For instance, you might take a paper bag and cut a shape from it. Triangle, rhombus, hourglass, angel wing? Make sure it has interesting surface features. Seams and ledges and creases.

Then to write on it a text that heeds the shapes available. Do you ride right over seams between paper zones? Or arrange your thought to accommodate ledges, flaps, secret corners? Does the form of the surface maybe inflect the words you set down there?

The distinction between prose and verse starts to decay here.

FOR ADVANCED USERS (that’s anyone). Pay attention also to your writing implement. Dickinson’s envelope poems leave traces of her process — for instance, some variants were surely pencilled in later, after the whole was composed, if the quality of pencil line (darker, slimmer) is any guide at all.

The word for it’s materiality — that the matter matters.

Etymologically, matter is mother.

Hebrew: Adam = “red earth.”

Haida: human = “ordinary surface bird.”

We’re earth children you and I. Squawk and g’night.