Saturday, December 6, 2008
Scissors, Paper, Rock
Since posting A Preliminary Sketch, I’ve been thinking about the different kinds of poems I might produce if I wrote them with tools not usually associated with writing, and about the challenging, liberating experience writing those poems could be. Most of us are so accustomed to conventional means — pen, paper, typewriter, computer — that we forget how those tools influence the results. And then, sometimes, when we do take notice, it sets us off in new directions, leads us to experiment, and makes us wonder how different our work might have been if we had lived in the time of chisels and stone tablets.
What kind of poem could I write with a stick? A spoon, a rock, a plumber’s friend. A clothes iron, spark plugs, ice tongs. Broom. Eraser. Magic wand. Porcupine quill. Divining rod. Wooden match. Baton. Scalpel. Pruning shears. Cookie cutter. Mortar and pestle.
I suppose to a certain degree it would be like composing on a different musical instrument, or like writing in a different place. I wrote somewhere once about the possible effects different windows have had on my writing and thinking — which way they faced, their size, their position in the room, how they were framed, the scene beyond.
Or no window. No tools at all. Is the mind a tool? Is the wind and rain?
Light, as Mr. Salchert related in his comment after the entry, is present even in dark matter.
On the other hand, some of us are able to find darkness in anything.
No medium, no means to record. Gray matter. Any way, shape, manner, or form. Are your Christmas cards done? Among others, my parents used to exchange them every year with Cotton and Polly — friends from the war. Not once did they ask each other questions like these. Can you write with a pitchfork? A doughnut? A piece of tape?
Note: Thanks to everyone who commented on A Preliminary Sketch.
A new poem, “Discovery,” added to Songs and Letters.
A short note about Vassilis Zambaras’s Greek translations added to News and Reviews.