Thursday, July 29, 2010

Paper Topic

If I can, I would like to take a more creative approach to the conference paper. I was intrigued by the Smith essay "The Book as Physical Object." I would like to experiment with the different binding styles and see how these might influence the poetry I will write in them. For example, the Venetian Blind seems to be a good fit for the sonnet form. Writing a Venetian blind sonnet could be approached in different ways depending on if the writer composes the poem and then builds the book or builds the book and then composes the sonnet in it, physically writing on each strip as the composition builds. These types of decisions could shed some light on the ways form influences production, not just form as sonnet, sestina, etc., but the physical form the poem will be presented in. To aid in the construction of my books I plan to make use of the large format printers we have in the AIS computer labs where I work(we have glossy and matte paper, gloss might be nice for covers and such), which adds a technological wrinkle to the conversation. So my paper would include the poems written and photos of the books constructed, documentation of the creative process, and a critical/theoretical treatment of the topic.


  1. I think this sounds interesting and I agree with your general feeling that The Book of the Book was like a creative generator of ideas for things to play around with. You sound pretty settled on this idea, and I think it sounds good, so I'm not sure what to say. I guess the only thing I would throw out there is to think about ways you can play with the forms as much as you are seeing how you can utilize them. From what you have listed above it seems like you want to play around with a number of forms that have already been used, but are their any other binding styles that those styles make you think of (or think are possible) that might already fit a poem you have, or and idea that you are playing with?

    Do you remember the house example that was talked about in class? One thing that I was thinking about with the house as book is that depending on how you walk through the house and depending on where you scan in the house you determine so much as reading and there are so many other possibilities.

    As sort of an off shoot of that I thought about how it is possible with the new iphone apps and google maps to really push the idea of everything being poetry and the world being the book by mapping poetry in locations (I think we talked about this in passing at one point). I think that there is ever google universe and you could map poetry as constellations. Doing something as grand as that at the same time that you maybe have part of the project exist in small spaces (a matchbook) in public spaces (facebook) and public space (a telephone poll), it starts to really put you in a position in which you would be stressed to figure out how to make that a book. I mean conceptually you could call it a book, but the way that you bind the book (while maybe still leaving it open to multiple readings) would seem like a fun task to figure out how to do it and might combine hyperlinks and riddles, etc.

    Obviously this is just a bad example, but I am hard pressed to think of how to respond. It just seems like you could play with the book even more and still incorporate the Venetian Blind.

    I also realize that time is limited so my example is even worse for that reason.

  2. Micah, I think we're sort of on the same wavelength, except that you're going in the "how can I construct this?" direction, and I'm going more in a "how far can I stretch this until it breaks?" direction. I like Ben's suggestions a lot, and I may steal some of them myself.

    I was thinking about "The Book of Bean" (is that the right name?) for you, too--in what ways can your books challenge the idea of what it means to be a book?

  3. Micah,

    I like this idea. What happens when you write a poem on both sides of the blinds, so depending on how you turn them it would be a new poem depending on the viewer. They say that no one can read the same book twice, well- this will be a main motif for the argument being the reader as participant (would the reader have to turn the blinds? would the blinds be on a "turning timer", would the reader/presenter have to turn the blinds for the viewer and when would that person do that?). Other things to consider: pop-up books, folding dressers and armoires with written text on them, or other ways computers help you write these (similar to my paper topic on website writing).

  4. Micah: First off, great idea. I think you should explore some of the hands on, material possibilities offered in the B of the B. The Smith essay is a the place to work with, though you might look at Drucker's essay as well. As you already note: include statements on process and critical/theoretical reflection; these can be a few pages. I think you should imagine being able to present this at a conference, i.e. stand up and read from the work, show the work, discuss its context and so on. I think you need to decide if you will take one or more poems and set/bind them in various ways; or set on poem one way, another poem another way, and so on. Also, you need to decide if you're working with already written pieces or if you're writing new pieces for this - either is fine, but it makes a difference. Also, you need to think about the relation of the poem to the binding: perhaps there is none (itself a kind of relation), or perhaps the poem is in some way about material, about binding, about space, about "outside," etc. Consider, again, Smith's own poems, many of which are about the experience and space of reading.