One is not born a woman

One is not born a woman, one becomes one.

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Goodbye

As with poems, you can be as free as you like

or as restricted as you like – just say the thing

Goodbye

like walking on water or some other miracle of a saint

I don’t believe in.

I tell you I don’t want children. Ever.

You’re not prepared for a nappy-less existence

that is that – goodbye

it’s not a tongue twister

it’s not a breath mint

I do not want marriage. Ever.

You’ve said you always wanted a bride

in a church, with a veil and all those dumb flowers

you’re not whole without it (which I think is stupid)

so you say the thing – goodbye

As with poems, it’s hard to know when it’s done

but words are a start, the feeling will come

like ice you roll on your tongue until it gets smaller

goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Text Thursday: Mash-up, Shaw, hidden narratives and page X

Quick Lit shake up

This Text Thursday is brought to you by literary mash-ups. A mash-up, much like Austin Kleon’s Black out poems or Dada‘s cut up technique is about taking a pre-existing text and finding new narratives within it. Kleon’s poems are born of crossing out all but a few words to create a new text. The Dadaists cut up texts, re-arranged the words and formed new sentences. The mash-up takes a text and stretches it, filling the spaces between words with new words to form a narrative. It was first introduced to me by one of my poetry lecturers, Gareth Jenkins. He also pointed out that it’s a good idea to use non fiction texts as they are often the most unintentionally poetic (much like Kleon’s newspaper’s eh?).

But for copyright reasons because I happen to have a copy of Bernard Shaw’s Back to Methuselah (1945), I’m going to use that as an example.

I picked this book up from a second hand bookstore for $2 a couple of years ago. Check out the cool inscription.

So, page x (10) of the Preface – ‘Political Inadequacy of the Human Animal’

Ten more years elapsed. Neo-Darwinismin in politics had produced a European catastrophe of a magnitude so appalling, and a scope so unpredictable, that as I write these lines in 1920, it is still far from certain whether our civilization will survive it (Shaw 1945).

and then stretch it, add a few words (and in this case I’m taking a few out) and it might become:

“Ten more years elapsed. Darwinism drove men to politics, lovers curled themselves around a European bouquet of love, catastrophes, explosions of hearts; petals on the cobblestones, a tapestry of such magnitude, so appalling, the scope of their spirits, the trickling sound as they slip their way through the gutters, unpredictable, a doctor, a wife, gushing out the lines of pavement into storm water drains, into 1920. Still and far from the certainty of each others’ pockets, a civilization of lovers, survived only by the city.”

It’s a lot of fun and sometimes you can even get some usable lines out of it, if not a whole poem.

Other great mash-up texts might include: religious texts, pamphlets, instruction manuals, menus, bills, and so on.

Lots of seemingly un-poetic texts contain narratives, you just need the tools to find them.

                                                                                                       

Shaw, B, 1945, Back to Methuselah, Oxford University Press, London, p X.