Bird Float, Tree Song: dis•articulated poems by Los Angeles poets


From: Cultural Weekly


terry-wolvertonMost of the time a poet begins with an idea rooted in an experience, a memory, a feeling, or a response to something we’ve encountered in the world.. Then we set out to search for the right words—the best words, the best form—to capture that elusive, yet pressing idea.

But sometimes for poets, that process can break down. Ideas feel wedged in a familiar rut, language and images start to seem repetitive. We may fear we’re not surprising anyone, even ourselves. We grow tired of our minds and search for ways to reactivate, even transform our thought process when we sit down to write.

Enter the dis•articulations process. I’ve pulled together different processes I use with students—writing from prompts, “fevered writing” and “cut-ups,” then added an additional element, sorting the cut-up words into their parts of speech—nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, etc. I found the process of “dis•articulating” the words to be fascinating and liberating—a stage of abstraction that helped me to release my pre-conceived notions of how a poem needed to be born.

In 2015, I decided to invite twelve Los Angeles poets, one per month, to collaborate with me on dis•articulations poems. My collaborator and I would each select four prompts (drawn from the media—print, broadcast or social) and exchange them. With each prompt we were given, we would spend 3 minutes doing “fevered writing” (writing without intention). Then we exchanged those four segments of fevered writing. Working with the words provided me by my collaborator, I would assemble a new poem; they would do the same with my words. Every word of the poem, including the title, had to come from words we were given. We were not required to use every word but we could not add words.

Starting without an idea, working with someone else’s words, allowing the words themselves to suggest ideas led to poems that surprise and lead us to unexpected places. The poems from this project are now compiled in an anthology (along with the writing prompts and the fevered writing): Bird Float and Tree Song: dis•articulated poems by Los Angeles poets. Read Rest of Article Here


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