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bricolage poetry 1

April 3, 2013

For quite a while, I’ve been ignoring a particular pile of things to read in my studio. Most of the pile consists of magazines I bought because I thought I might like to write for them.

If I wasn’t going to write for them, they represented a lot of reading, with no clear benefit for bothering. If I was going to write for them, it would be even more reading, and then a whole lot of work in coming up with ideas to write about, querying, submitting, etc.

So the pile sat, mostly avoided, and occasionally grew. For 18 months.


In my morning pages for 3.24.2013, I riffed on the idea of the magnetic poetry kit, and came up with something more homegrown: I cut words and phrases out of magazines, newspapers, and catalogs. In fact, doing that became artist date 7. On that day, I quickly assembled almost 300 clippings, drawn from that enormous pile sitting in my studio.

This activity has rapidly become my favorite pastime when I feel the itch to be creative but don’t have a clear idea about something to make.

Which actually happens a lot.

Also, it’s fun. It’s a way to learn interesting things while I’m playing with something else. And it seeds my imagination. This may be the most enjoyable activity I’ve ever originated.

What I’m calling my “bricolage poetry kit” now contains items drawn from a wide variety of sources (including art & craft, design, quilting, popular science, science journals, Paganism & other earth religions, psychology and intelligence, Maryland local interest, weddings, fashion, alumni newsletter).

The words and phrases are mostly in English, but a few are in Spanish, Lithuanian, Irish, and Hawaiian. Also Japanese, and Latin.

I’ve split the total collection [n = 954] into 2 groups: the larger, everyday set [n = 798]; and the smaller set [n = 156] for images and concepts that evoke the US Southwest, and what I hope to tap into while I’m visiting it this summer.

At some point soon, I will add phrases to both sets that I myself use in conversation, or have written.


I have used my bricolage poetry kit (subset: everyday) to write 3 completed poems, and one in progress.

Here is my favorite:


It’s what Brian Eno would do

A Chihuahua playing a guitar, practicing

its own logic.

Choose pink or my neighbor’s cat.

The jet-pack monkey rejects boring dudes everywhere!

Mellow yellow.



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