Feb '12 27
I rescued this poem from Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (p115) and Secret Wisdom – Occult societies and arcane knowledge through the ages by Ruth Clydesdale (p148).

Note: 'jakes' is pronounced 'jacks'. It's an old Irish slang word for 'toilet'.

Asylum renovations

Her alchemy torments the planets,
his philosophy:
sour sweepings
from desperate universal truths pamphlets;
the lunatics, understanding divinity, drink hard.
        teihr wolrd reraangred
their asylum
they throw themselves reality
bake     flour       bake
pints         drink                 pints
now, drinking champion
bring the loaf of science
bring the pint of politics
Copernicus is in the jakes:
you’re the astronomer.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Feb '12 23
One of our writing exercises in uni last semester (thank you Amy) was to create a collage poem. This was based on exercises from chapter four, 'Writing as Recycling', from The Writing Experiment, Strategies for innovative creative writing by Hazel Smith.

We had to copy a slab of text from a random page from two books into a Word document and print it out. Then we had to cut out each word using a scissors, mix up the words, select words from the jumble and assemble a new piece of text as a poem.

I modified the process to make it more efficient: I found a nice online word scrambler here and avoided the messy, fiddly cutting and sorting part of the process.

I was intrigued by the result. I prefer to call the resulting poem a 'rescued' poem instead of a 'found' poem or a collage. It's more dramatic, isn't it? I feel that the poem is hiding and that it's my job to look for it using this special recovery mechanism.

Some poems are so thrilled to be rescued that they jump out and do a little jig; others are hesitant or shy and need plenty of encouragement and time. (You see, we can make a story out of anything!)

My rescued poems are different from the poems I usually write. They are dense and jagged; I like to think that they are a bit unstable and could freak out at any moment.

To honour my rescued darlings (rather than killing them) I intend to start a 'Rescue Tuesdays' post on this site.

Every Tuesday I will post one of my rescued poems, so bookmark this site and remember to visit each week. Better still, subscribe to the newsfeed to be notified when I update the site.

Tune in on Tuesday 28 February for the first rescued poem.

Posted by Jennifer Liston