Collage, Collaboration & Bookish Beasts



A key to what follows:

What to read lists what all should read, with primary sources listed first. If there's a gap in the list, undergrads should feel free to stop at that point, but grads should soldier on. Anything under Further is optional. Grads should expect to delve into "further" readings several times in the semester, following your personal interests.

A perpetual problem in this class is that many of you won't have seen work in these modes before, so you need models, you need to see the range. And yet, if I pile on the reading there's no time to write. So, I've assigned no more than I think the market will bear, but will also bring further examples to class, including books from the Reserve desk, books and pamphlets in my collection, and so forth. You should also bring in what you find. For weeks when I have organized this show-and-tell into a coherent set of materials and an activity to go with it, you'll see it on the syllabus as Bookshelf. Other weeks, you'll just have a chance to browse and make notes. In some cases, you might even want to snap pictures with your cell phone or camera.

Week 1:  Jan 24   
Intro to the course, in-class writing & we'll make a wee book. Bring paper and scissors if you can.

Week 2: Jan 31
Thanks to the infinite wisdom of AWP, we will not meet this week. Please complete these readings, which will introduce you to many of the forms and questions we will work with this semester. Take notes and accumulate questions.

What to read

Thomas A. Clark: Poetry & the Space Beyond
Marjorie Perloff: Afterimages: Revolution of the (Visible) Word
A Book of the Book: Keith Smith: The Book as Physical Object p54

A Book of the Book: Michael Davidson: The Material Page 71
A Book of the Book: Karl Young: Notation and the Art of Reading 25

What to do
Familiarize yourself with the course web site & linked sites.
Work on poem(s) for next week
Recommended exercise--perhaps on its own, perhaps as a revision s
tep on one of the other poems--
Write two versions of a short collaged poem, using the same raw materials in each. Make one version a rough collage, in which seams and gaps are emphasized and highly evident, despite some overarching unity to the piece. Make the other version smooth, perhaps naturalizing all your material into a speaking voice. You needn't erase all traces of the gaps, but you should tilt the balance toward coherence. For a model of the latter, perhaps Marianne Moore's "New York."
Other exercises related to collage: brownse the Writing Operations page; and, on Imitation/Homage page, see Boolean Poetry, Cut-Up Dialogue;

Week 3: Feb 7
Collage as quotation, as found text, as pulled text, as method of composition.

What to write: Make Your Own System: a poem created by a procedure of your own invention, directions here.

Bring to class
: Add text to the hidden book you made on the first night (or make a new one) & bring it in for show-&-tell.

: your poems, either one you wrote for today or a revised version of the one you wrote in class on the first night.

: Using texts from the reading, and perhaps also yours, we'll discuss the difference b/t working at the level of the word and working at the level of the phrase, subjective vs. objective methods, relation between source(s) and new composition, etc. If time, we'll start a discussion of voice in collage poems.

Bookshelf: In small groups, examine small books & make note of their form, materials, binding, relation of book form to content.

What to Read

The Order of Things: browse this text, but see especially pages 105, 150-151, 156-160, & the note on 196
From Practice 2: Renée Angle:
from Salamandra Salamandra
From Practice 2: Tony Lopez: Only More So
From Practice 2: Danika Myers: from My Risky Undertaking
Tichy: Intro notes on collage, here
Adrian Lurssen: I'm Not Hollywood, on revising a collage poem, here

Tichy: Notes on Leonard Diepeveen's work on "quoting poems," here

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A small selection of contemporary works in collage:
Betsy Andrews: New Jersey
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Dictée
Martha Collins: Blue Front
Carolyn Forche: The Angel of History
C.S. Giscombe: Giscome Road
Susan Howe: Singularities
(collage & visual)
Lisa Jarnot: Some Other Kind of Mission
(collage & erasure & visual)
Harryette Mullen: Muse & Drudge or Recyclopedia
Mark Nowak: Shut Up Shut Down
Myung Mi Kim: Under Flag, Commons
Czeslaw Milosz: From the Rising of the Sun, & others in Collected Poems
Claudia Rankine: Don't Let Me Be Lonely
Joan Retallack: Afterimages (collage & erasure)
Gary Snyder: Myths & Texts
Peter Streckfus: The Organum, in The Cuckoo (collage & abecedarian)
Rosmarie Waldrop: Blindsight

Rosmarie Waldrop: A Key Into the Language of America

Marjorie Perloff: The Invention of Collage, in her The Futurist Moment (highly recommended)
Tichy: an intro to FLARF with links to further reading, here
Alan Golding: Drawing with Words: Susan Howe's Visual Poetics (essay), in We Who Love to Be Astonished, ed. Laura Hinton and Cynthia Hogue.

A selection of major Modernist works in collage:
Marianne Moore: An Octapus, Marriage, New York, etc. in Complete Poems or The Poems of...
T.S. Eliot: The Waste Land
Ezra Pound: The Cantos
William Carlos Williams: Paterson
Mina Loy: Songs for Johannes, in Last Lunar Baedeker
Melvin B. Tolson : Harlem Gallery

Week 4: Feb 14

What to write: an erasure text

: your erasure or collage poems, + in-class writing: sound chains & credos

: Erasure texts: is it "erasure as collage" or
"erasure vs collage"? We'll also continue discussion of voice.

What to read

Wave Books Erasure page, for an introduction and simple way to begin, here
Tom Phillips: excerpts from A Humument, here & here
A Book of the Book: Tom Phillips: from The Heart of A Humument, p375
A Book of the Book: Tom Phillips: Notes on A Humument, p423
Ronald Johnson: excerpt from Radi Os
Jen Bervin: excerpt from Nets
Joan Retallack: excerpt from Afterimages, from Afterimages
Lisa Jarnot: excerpt from Some Other Kind of Mission
Practice 1: Janet Holmes: three poems
Jill Magi: Threads (start looking at it now; we'll come back to it when we talk about altered books)

N. Katherine Hayles: A Humument as Technotext, on electronic reserve PASSWORD: CREATIVE
Dan Beachy-Quick: The Speaking Ear, here (A review of Radi Os, highly recommended for its discussion of erasure as a way of reading, erasure texts as books written by reading.)

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Mary Ruefle: Little White Shadow (like A Humument, it's made from a novel), at the Reserve Desk
Tom Phillips: A Humument, at the Reserve Desk
Jen Bervin: Nets (from Shakespeare's sonnets)
Jen Bervin's web page, with a lot more cool stuff, here
Ronald Johnson: Radi Os (from Milton's Paradise Lost)
A Book of the Book: readings on Blake's illuminated books

Week 5: Feb 21
Words: textual & visual methods to break them, change them, hear them, list them.

What to write: a grid, correction, permutation, or...?
a credo or similar listing structure that works with sound

Discussion: poems from the reading, ear/eye/mind elements in each form, meditation without discursiveness.

Workshop your poems, if we have time, + we'll make a pop-up book. So bring materials & tools--paper, images if you want to use them, your artist's knife & cutting mat, pens, glue, etc.

What to read
The Order of Things: lists 29, 53-87, 106, 119, 169; to/from 110; sound 23-26, 164-167; all the above 101-112.
Credo poems: distributed in class (with permission of their publisher)
Alec Finlay: Grid poems, Corrections. Start here, then click You Are Invited>open the pop-up. Click D for grid poems, or find the correction poem in the bottom row.
Ian Hamilton Finlay, A Visual Primer:    (Reserve Desk)
Ian Hamilton Finlay, Little Sparta (Reserve Desk)
Tichy: camouflage grid, credos
Tichy: notes on Cecilia Vicuña & Edwin Morgan's Palabrarmas/Wurdwappinschaw, here

Practice 1: Joan Wilcox, from Tangle

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Cecilia Vicuña & Edwin Morgan's Palabrarmas/Wurdwappinschaw
Katz: Libro Quemado
Ian Hamilton Finlay: Unnatural Pebbles

Week 6: Feb 28
Visual & concrete poetry.

What to write: a visual poem (circle, concrete...)
And a visual text modeled on Drucker. You can write an original text, or take a piece of existing prose and remake it as a visual essay. A page or two will do.

Workshop your poems: grid, broken word, sound, permutation, credo, or visual. We'll also talk about how these forms can morph into small book forms. In-class writing: collaborative three word poems.

Discussion poems & forms from the reading

What to read
Tichy: intro to Visual Poetry, here
The Order of Things: 87-100, 101-112 
Alec Finlay: 
Circle poems. Start here, then click You Are Invited>open the pop-up>N for Circle poems. Also, from the home page, click animations and find animated circle poems. In the bookshop, find a book of circle poems, Turning Toward Living.
Colin Sackett: Essayes
Johanna Drucker: Linguistic Authority and the Visual Text (brief essay), in Figuring the Word: Essays on Books, Writing, and Visual Poetry. Granary Books, 1998.
A Book of the Book: Marjorie Perloff: from The Futurist Moment
A Book of the Book: Blaise Cendrars & Sonia Delaunay: La Prose du Transiberian
Reinhold Grimm: Poems and/as Pictures, on electronic reserve. This is a long reading, though much of it is taken up by the images. Better images of some of the oldest stuff Grimm discusses may be seen in Ubu's Historical section, under the title "Early Visual Poetry," here

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Emmett Williams: Anthology of Concrete Poetry. At the Reserve Desk.
Eugene Wildman: Anthology of Concretism.
At the Reserve Desk.
Mary Ann Solt: Concrete Poetry: A World View, way out of print but available on Ubu, here

Beyond Concrete:
Johanna Drucker: Wor(l)d Made Flesh (Artist's book) at the Reserve Desk
Joahana Drucker: Visual Performance of the Poetic Text (essay), in Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word, ed. Charles Bernstein. Book is at the Reserve Desk. The essay is a highly recommended overview of the modes of visual poetry.

Week 7: March 6
Continue from last week.

What to read: In last week's handout on Procedural Poetry, read about John Cage's use of mesostics as a method for "writing through" a text. On look at Mesostic Herbarium and Mesostic Laboratorium, both part of You Are Invited. Please also read the Commentaries at the back of The Order of Being (starting on p 177).

What to write
: Whatever you like.

Workshop: your visual poems + visual texts modeled on Drucker. Bring copies for all.
We will also write linked chains of mesostics.

Discussion: Carry on with questions from last week, with applications to your poems.
Introduce E-mail Exquisite Corpse Collaborations.

Week 8: March 13: Spring Break, no class

Week 9: March 20: First portfolio due.
Words & Images, Emblem & Beyond

What to read:
Look at whatever Hamish Fulton has on his web site this week.
Look at Colin Sackett's Black Bob, here.
At the Reserve Desk,
browse Jessie Sheeler's Little Sparta.
Choose two photographs in which words appear. They may be on any object, and in any setting at Little Sparta. Make a copy (or make detailed notes) and answer these questions about the relationship of words to image. Are the words a caption (that is, do they name what is seen)? Are the words an epigram? How do the words interact with/refer to the object or material on which they appear? How do the words interact with/refer to the landscape or garden features that also appear in the photo? Do the words allude to other texts, images, artists, or historical events? Would you describe this work as an object of or for meditation? Would you describe this work as an emblem, or related to emblem? If so, you probably can identify the "picture" and the the inscription. Where do you find, or imagine, the commentary?

Workshop: Each of you will present one piece from your portfolio and one image from Little Sparta.

Bookshelf: In pairs, examine and describe works combining text and image. Present to the whole.

Week 10: March 27
Constrained writing: abecedarian, acrostic, mesostic, analytic dictionary, et. al.

What to write: An emblem. And start work with constrained writing. Try several things and see what clicks for you. You can bring in several experiments in different veins, or choose one form and develop it into a substantial work or series of small works.

: your poems & emblems. We will discuss the concept of constrained writing, as well as the particulars of different procedures, as we talk about your poems.

What to read
This week it's just a lot of poems--so put in the time to find & read them.

The Order of Things: 37-52, 120
Constrained writing exercises, here
Alec Finlay: Mesostic Herbarium
Colin Sackett: Rereader
Peter Jay Shippy: from "Alphaville"
Carolyn Forché: "On Earth," in Blue Hour, at the Reserve Desk (abecedarian)
Peter Streckfus: "The Organum," in The Cuckoo, at the Reserve Desk (acrostic collage)
Adrian Lurssen: Angola (analytic dictionary, with additional constraints)
Susan Tichy & Adrian Lurssen: Tea mesostics
Joan Retallack: Afterimages (erasure by constrained methods)
Christian Bok: excerpt from Euonia

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Christian Bök: Euonia
Ed Allen: 67 Mixed Messages
(acrostic sonnets)
Alec Finlay & others: Mesostic Herbarium
Alec Finlay & others: Mesostic Laborium
Posh / Shop

Saturday, March 29:  workshop in papermaking, printing, and book arts, at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Stay tuned for more information.