So, I’m still thinking about my abbreviated and slowly progressing taxonomy projects. In addition, I’m still thinking about the #twitstedpair blogging challenge. I think this set of work for my mini taxonomy also fits the twistedpair idea.
I have been working with blackout poetry for a while. As I think about it, blackout poetry is a lot like the altered objects take on my art works; it’s creative to a point, but there’s a sizable starting block. Even if I do not like the starting block, I don’t have to make it too. So I get a little boost and take a little less credit. For me, fair trade.
My next group of works and poems, and I use those terms very loosely, is a set of blackout poem based on catalog descriptions. I used two catalogs that were sitting around my house, found some of the wordier descriptions, and set to work. I have to admit, one set is pretty boring. So, I put them into a little book format to try to dress them up. Not sure it helps.
The second set is a little more interesting and came from a catalog that tries to have more of a specific personality. I added some bits and bobs to the pages with the poems since they seemed to call for something more off beat.
As I think about the poetry and catalogs as a twisted pair, what I like is that both are, for the most part, about economy of words. (Yes I know there are epic poems, but they are the exceptions.) And, as I read the catalogues for words, not for meaning or content, but purely for range of words, variety of potential ideas, etc., each catalog had a personality even in very few words. One was fairly vanilla–practical clothing with functional descriptions. It was harder to work with that raw material. The words of the other catalog were more fanciful and aimed to help me imagine a situation in which I would wear item x, y, or z. Again, the pictures were not at all part of this equation. Both catalogs were for clothing and since it is fall and I live in a 4-season part of the world, keeping warm and dry were important ideas for both companies, yet their takes were very different. In looking back at my poems, you can see the differences. With so few words to work with, compared to having an entire newspaper article, it was hard to break out of the vision of the original. I think that’s what makes this combination interesting. Trying to take something functional (catalog descriptions) and make them into something that is not about function.
Often when I start with an article for a blackout poem, it is from a section of the paper that I am already interested in reading. Thus the ‘Sunday Styles’ and the ‘Arts and Leisure’ sections of the Sunday New York Times figure prominently as my starting places, even the ‘Metropolitan’ section makes an appearance. As I think about the catalog project, I wonder what would happen if I started with the sports section. I read somewhere that some people consider sports writers to be some the best newspaper writers because they write about the same things over and over and therefore have to come up with a different way to say the same things. (I would attribute this if I could remember where I read it.) I think that is my next experiment. Will it matter what sport I choose? Will it be obvious that I started with a sports article? Should the set all be based on articles about the same sport or should they be all different. Ooh, so much to consider and on a long, holiday weekend. I can’t wait.