Mar '12 20
I rescued this poem from This is not a novel by Jennifer Johnston (p33) and If on a winter's night a traveller by Italo Calvino (p148).


Remember code

perfect pushed-pulled champions of the sea
scorching first;
rinsed towel
squeezed uneasiness

gentle ghost
brushed
wiped down dismay
dry half-felt wet
under well eyes
somehow the naturalness of tears drown
rippling recognised
faceless but familiar
watching silent shadow lingered
indifferent to the moment


Posted by Jennifer Liston

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  1. Mike says:

    *So tell me more about the process Jennifer. Do you pick a page from each book at random, and then pick phrases from each page, or do you scan the books for the most likely looking pages. And do you try to use equal amounts of material from each book?

  2. Jen says:

    *Hi Mike,

    I think I'll actually write a post about this!

    I use just two books each time. What I've been doing to select random pages is simply to open both books at random. If there's too much dialogue or proper names I'll open another page. I've just started generating random numbers in Excel to select the pages.

    Then I transcribe the text of each of the two pages into a Word document. After I've scrambled the text with the online scrambler, I print out the scrambled text and then I select words that jump out at me and write them all out on another blank page. Then I 'rescue' the poem from that jumble!

    The process seems to put my head in a space to make some unlikely combinations of words and phrases. I like the routine of it followed by the creative burst. ;-)

  3. Mike says:

    *Interesting. I think a blog post about it would be really good. So when you 'scramble' the text, does it keep sentences together, or does it literally scramble all the words, so that all context is gone?

  4. Jen says:

    *No, I set up the text in a column in the scrambler so it jumbles all the words individually. That way I'm not tempted to, or don't unconsciously, use a phrase from the text.

    How did 'Words at the Wall' go? I'm sure it was great. And did you go to the slam after?

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