2021-02-19 07:36

The third series didn’t last. After an extremely promising first few days, I discovered the source text was problematic; I kept landing on passages that needed way too much massaging to render them usable. So I’ve settled on a different text and it’s been so much better. I even did five in one sitting the other day, just for kicks, which caught me up on the days I’d missed while looking for a new text.

I had to remind myself of a similar stumble before the second series, where I cast about for over two weeks, trying out three or four different source texts to see if they’d work. Something that looks like it’s going to be great can often present problems that make the chance operation more cumbersome or annoying than it’s worth.

Maybe I’ll talk about what I’ve found to be good and poor source texts some time.

Also, there’s something I’m trying to do differently this time. The poems in the earlier series each stood very much on their own. They all felt like they belonged together, of course, by virtue of the source texts setting the tone, so to speak; but they were each quite self-contained, at least to my ear. This time, I’m holding the idea that they are stanzas in a longer work.

Are they all by the same “speaker”? Are they parts of an ongoing dialogue of some kind? Not sure. If I continue my habit of not looking back at earlier days’ poems, then there won’t necessarily be any explicit through-line from one poem to the next any more than in the earlier series, since it will be yet another exquisite corpse, of sorts. But sometimes, simply “holding an idea” can be enough to alter the trajectory. We’ll see whether that’s true for this project or not.


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Chance Operation I started my third chance operation series yesterday. As with the first two, I’m drawing five words at random from a predetermined list, then I’m
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On Poetry and Bullshit (I wrote this on 25 March, 2019, but never posted it. Lawrence Ferlinghetti died yesterday, and I’ve been thinking of this short piece today. This