Sunday, December 04, 2016

more on misery

Since my trip to the states I’ve been on a writing hiatus. I did poke around in poems in progress but haven’t started anything new. Fall was dominated by the Misery project. I haven’t abandoned it yet, but I know when I pick it up again I’ll be leaving this peaceful period, whether it’s Misery or another book.

This wasn’t my first time doing found poetry but I did spend more time with Misery, and my approach made creation feel very intimate - sewing paper with thread, cutting and dissecting pages, pasting them with confetti and magazine cut-outs. It was one of the more tactile relationships I’ve had with a book. I cursed a lot about glue. 

A lot of the poems I came up with were failures as poems go, but I dressed them up and managed to give them some charm. The ones that worked both as poems and visuals I’m happy with and am submitting. Others are going nowhere. Nothing I did was elaborate. I didn’t set out thinking I’d do visuals every day, but then I couldn’t drop it once I started.

Misery is an entertaining book. It’s well-written, it’s got plenty of gruesome moments and a wound-up villain. But it isn’t a masterpiece of literature. You don’t want to start with a masterpiece when you’re doing found poetry, in my opinion. You find too much unearned gorgeousness.

I also forgot to post these recent poems from The Baltimore Review: Industry Lap Dog and The Quiet Car


Johanna Donovan said...

Nice, Sarah. But you look so sad. Maybe "Misery" lingers.

Kathleen said...

Glad to know more about your Misery project. Thanks for the poem link, too!

Dave said...

"You don’t want to start with a masterpiece when you’re doing found poetry, in my opinion." I'd agree if it means taking whole lines or phrases. But some pretty great erasure poetry has been made from masterpieces. (I would not say Pepys' diary is a masterpiece of literature, though he does have many great moments.)

SarahJane said...

You're right. But I feel like I'm cheating when I've tried it.

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