Monday, July 8, 2013

pillow talk

Today in class - "found" poems; poems derived from the language in the world around us; poems written for particular objects ... this was perhaps the most photogenic of them all: a pillow decorated with the contents ("active" and "latent") of dreams.   I should add that the creator of this added a little copyright sign in one corner, and I'm reproducing this without her permission - though obviously she knew I took the pictures - so please respect this ... So many good ideas!  There was the "five short poems from the Norton Anthology" - just put "The Norton Anthology" into the anagram tool on line (who knew?) and see what you get.  There was a poem written on a mirror - a quotation about the possession of one's face from Romeo and Juliet, plus the terms of a lease - in what way does one "own" one's living space?  There was a wonderful overheard/transcribed conversation - a very snippety row - between a couple on Canyon Road.  Someone created a poem from the mutilated signs in Downtown Subscription telling one not to take unpaid for magazines to one's coffee table; someone else used the phrases (and added one herself) to be found on the restroom chalkboards there.  One person constructed her poem from her four year old's phrases that weekend; one was a compendious set of Thanksgiving instructions written - in excruciating detail - in an email by someone's mother-in-law - a complete compilation of social assumptions and character delineation.  One student contributed her packing list for a couple of days at the Grand Canyon.  I loved the student who'd cut out seven pictures from an up-market real estate magazine in Santa Fe, each accompanied by a vignette-from-Santa-Fe-life-observed-or-overheard.  Somebody transcribed a poem, then erased lines and replaced them with her own.  Someone interspersed the prose of a UC Santa Cruz article about man eating lions with the language taken from posters advertising acts in a Hollywood club.  There was a brilliant country-music-song-style version of the drinks menu at the Coyote Cantina.  And one person pulled together a whole lot of article titles from Reddit, and then - just as he was reading out Not Ever Pope Francis, there was a huge thunder bang and all the lights went out, which seemed to signify divine disapproval.

And then we wrote 15 sonnets (15 of us - one title, 14 lines) - passing the paper on after each line had been inscribed, with a complicated fold-over scheme giving continuity in rhyme pattern, and some narrative.

After all of that, who wouldn't feel that they could encourage their students that there's poetry everywhere in the world?  And who didn't understand the problems of attributing authorship?

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