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Question’s to a Specter: Collage Poems

Questions to an Answerless Specter, collage poems by Chris Girard

Self-published book of collage poems Questions to an Answerless Specter is a three and ½ poem book that I wrote for good old fashioned physical distribution. The journey begins at Stories Books and Cafe in Echo Park and ends at a live reading at some guy’s house in West Hollywood. Composer and conceptual artist Mark So has incorporated my reading of the poems into a cassette recording while giving me a blow job at his studio in the Royal Lake Apartments in Pico Union.

Here is a downloadable and foldable book in printable PDF form.

Or here is the page and a half in its entirety:

?’s to an Answerless Specter

Extinction is our reverse engineering

Bendists

Soon followed by
and realized she
outside the fertile house
smiled, and have his hands answered
hearing the entire door
front mumbled abby
replied over and about
looking smiled again

Her parents
stuttering, seeing her john
house is sighed
breathing mouth grinned
thinking of the abbey john
his hands had given him

Tell her husband!
Tell her husband
trying to be very good alive
said son is a jake
promise me, very much

Observe john
pulled the same thing over
and again upon hearing of the warm
coat john
his hands stopped talking about

Chain trouble so fountainhead
replied the prayer
standing erect
his
tail at the end of our stick
plain over, drawn across
sprightly high

and gnocchi, weewee
struck the coat
john jane
squelching at water

Argon Flash

Evening
whistle, go off, raise a ghost
item abstain from common height
coupled with innards

Abate and abide
plaque sky
placate however flood
binds
the creator
slip ship,
with scrimshaw
up the itch knee
this-that readying
mimicking volition

Animal baby, cells of crisis
solo decorate be
cause to hit
great water with ensemble
from the bottom of the feet
to the top of the head
a derelict

Form/Tone

This rain has nothing to do
with sustainability, it is about rain

No more rhyme nor euphony
to eliminate the numeric distinction
of generic-specific relations
reflections is not the plural of reflection
in-between the pathos of nature
sundry of pains, joy

Upheld by youth, a great king
of being to the subhuman
no mesmeric outcome for a shift-shaft
tract becomes deliberate act, other

The height of distance
induces no distance
versatile earnest
forced upon the
withdrawal of plenty
periphery, jeering however as pleasurable
reckoning, a
wide nut
among them
to induce stature

Happiness is unknown
un-indiscretion with innards
cavity bordered, botched
and coupled
with logs burning, no discord
not a moment too soon, to overturn
the lost world

0 that ends with 0
begins the   from end
to end to read the __________ the
that reiterates it’s its
message

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A Death Poem: Shadows/Shadows/Tomb

Shadows/Shadows/Tomb, a death poem, is a four channel video stream on Max/MSP/Jitter.

A New Media Death Poem

Shadow/Shadows/Tomb, a new media video collage death poem, runs tombstones on four video screens. The videos run on a program called Max/MSP/Jitter behind the interface. The poem consists of four streaming films that are systematically arranged into a box, which create a larger poem. This happens as each of the inscriptions are juxtaposed next to each other.

Shadows/Shadows/Tomb streams for over two days without looping. This video poem, despite its name, reflects how life continues on after death. Hundreds of year old tombstones show their wear and tear underneath overgrown plant life and the creatures amid them. Video recorded on my Canon 7D also shows spiderwebs, dead leaves and flies, anything that was on top of the tombstones within the cemetery.

The poem is structured on the constraint of filming objects within the cemetery. Each individual poem uses words that compositionally and grammatically fit into the area of the box it streams in. Verbs, primarily, and objects that visually correspond to the top images are placed on the top two boxes. Nouns, exclamations and other objects are placed in the bottom two boxes to end the poem.

Chris Girard Explains Shadow Shadows Tomb, 2011

Shadow Shadows Tomb, 2011, New Media/Video Collage. This above video offers a 20 minute recording of the poem.

Nunhead, Not Heptonstall

Originally, the new media collage poem was supposed to focus on the poet Sylvia Plath and not myself. The original plan I proposed was to travel to Heptonstall, West Yorkshire, where Plath’s tombstone is located. I would film engravings and inscriptions of texts on tombstones within the perimeter of the cemetery. But the filming actually took place at Nunhead Cemetery in London, which is a cemetery proximally located to where I live.

Tombstones in each respective cemetery visually look different by the way that the environment interacts with them. Religious and cultural backgrounds of the people buried are revealed through age, use of the materials, and the inscriptions left by family members. Yet the tombstones essentially look old tombstones that belong to an old cemetery. These relics of the cemetery are documented through the particles of words and surfaces filmed from my findings.

You can find an interview about this death poem with artist Claudia Crobatia at A Course in Dying.

Life and Death

Plants and trees grow over the tombstones and the sounds of people walking and children playing symbolize both death and life. The use of cemeteries as parks in London and the plant life, animals and insects that surrounds the area becomes a poem that challenges death. Lives that intertwine next to objects that signify death show the cyclical nature of death. It shows how death is not static but becomes part of an ever-changing presence. The challenge of death, for example, is to stay dead. Death is an omnipresent re-casting of historical moments mixed within the present moment. Plants and creatures that move atop of the surface of the tombs and signify an ‘afterlife’.

The poem suggests my bodily presence in terms of the ‘author function’. Allusions of the poem document my movements, choice of engravings and artifacts that I choose to film. It is located as well by its proximity to my residence near the cemetery, which is less than a half a mile away. The new media poem references myself, places myself, as a collagist, into a working role of writing a story about identity.

This process of working with identities that are constructed after death became an important part of my research focus. Shadow/Shadows/Tomb illustrates this process through the use of a technology that is considered new media. The poem is categorized as a new media poem as the video clips run film clips in endlessly different combinations from a single location. It becomes a poem about my own identity based upon my proximity.

This proximity incorporates where I lived at the time, Brockley, London SE42JJ, to create this poem. This further goes to allude about how my identity, which is a construct of the reader, never stays the same. The proliferation of an author is as always a construct of the reader, and is therefore indistinguishable to attributes given to other authors. The role that is constructed for me will be ever-changing and wavering like with how Shadow Shadows Tomb is constructed, and meaning will endlessly change.

Nunhead Cemetery Tombstones

The Max/MSP/Jitter patch streams each of the four boxes or screens with film clips.

Max/MSP/Jitter Streams Simultaneous Video Clips

Shadow Shadows Tomb incorporates new media technology into the poem with the use of the video codes that run on a Max/MSP/Jitter patch. Constantly changing screens with a poem that figuratively never ends suggest that meaning could be determined on the process itself. Four video clips are executed and encoded on Max/MSP/Jitter to run on a loop that constantly changes. An awareness that this poem will not begin for a while becomes apparent after one spends time with it. Each of the four displays play a hand-picked selection of 12 to 15 videoclips that separately run 12, 13, 14 and 15 six second video clips. And each of the displays runs a different number of video clips. This is because two or more of the displays would otherwise constantly play the same words and objects on the screen in repetition.

An idea of this poem is for it to constantly show a different sequence of images to have unexpected and very surprising results. The poem will show different combinations of words, objects and creatures for 54.6 hours or 2.275 days before repeating itself. I calculated this by multiplying the clips together. I then multiplied this result by six seconds to calculate the total number of seconds how long it will play before combinations begin to duplicate again. I then divided the total length in seconds by 60 to calculate the minutes and divided again by 60 to calculate the hours and divided again by 24 to calculate the days.

The individual images become familiar when they constantly appear and reappear. There are a total of 54 film stills. The four displays combined with words, creatures or scenes will show different sequences for over two days. Each of the screens individually run a poem on loop as well. Changing word combinations elude to a death poem by its proximity. It changes scenes in this filmed cemetery that familiarizes the viewer. Ambient sounds, which are combined from each of the four scenes, resonate the familiarity of this location. Children playing, birds chirping and people walking over leaves show a familiar resonance of life within the proximity of the cemetery.

Evidences of life in the streaming poem make the poem more fluidly composed with the rhythm that it carries. They contextualize its British location of the cemetery as the type of fauna and accents are distinctly heard within the perimeters of these grounds. The ambient sounds imply that death is as present as life. It becomes lifelike with the sounds that reverberate its presence.

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery Tombstone Poem

Video excerpts of Hollywood Forever Cemetery Tombstone Poem

Forever, Forever, Forever at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Tombstone Poem is a video poem taken at Hollywood Forever Cemetery (also known as Hollywood Memorial Park) by Chris Girard. The film constitutes engravings found on tombstones of public figures and celebrities made in December 2010. It was tentatively entitled Forever, Forever, Forever due to the overwhelming number of words “forever” found on these tombstones. The video poem was subsequently collaged and sequenced into a poem based on the words found and filmed. The ambient sounds reflect the surprising quietness of the celebrity-filled cemetery in the middle of a busy weekday Los Angeles. The film is an exploration of the omnipresence of historical moments signified by tombstones and the words that provide their description.

roadvine

rain rest
rose
our
precious
poet

lion

day hunt
ray way
always
law
we grow
strong war
strong

page

young graves
be
end art

angel

shop
forever forever
foreverwings

mother you
cut herr
line ask
price
eternal inch
of eternity

heart

beloved birth
begin
death
black castle
sweet
whif

roses

Printable version of poem.

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Detournement of Street Signs – Law Series

Detournement of Street Signs by Chris Girard

Law Series is a type of photo detournement. It constitutes repurposed photographs of street signs that are either cropped from their original state or framed. The change in composition alters the rules and regulations to produce other rules and regulations.

Detournement, Laws of Movement & Expression

When I was 21 years old taking art photography classes, I was interested in exhibitionism and the performance that one acts when on camera. I looked at constructs of intimacy and the clashes that it creates. I believe regulation creates the boundaries of intimacy and a change in the rules changes how one behaves. In a way, isolation forms the placement of these regulatory mechanisms. Expression isolates or ‘interiorizes’ and even alienates from these mechanisms. Outdoor NO signs clearly show these mechanisms. I lived near hundreds of these signs growing up in Orange County, California.

Photo Detournement by Chris Girard

The four scenes in each of the photo collages evolve a story by a reader who searches for correlations and patterns in scattered and ephemeral environments. California housing associations estrange these landscapes and gated communities by heavily regulating them.

External Regulation & Internal Expression?

Laguna Niguel is an inland town that borders the beach town of Laguna Beach in Orange County. I noticed when visiting my parents how many NO signs there are. Niguel Summit, which is the housing association my parents lived in the 1990s and 2000s, offers at least one NO sign for every 15 feet.

I decided to photograph all of these NO signs within a one mile perimeter from my parents’ home. It’s funny and absurd in a way to have a No Parking sign followed by a No Trespassing sign followed by a No Parking sign. This is something you wouldn’t see in most other places. Other places where I subsequently lived, like San Francisco, London or Los Angeles, do not do this.

I believe this has to do with is Laguna Niguel being a collection of privately-owned housing associations rather than a town. This phenomenon of private housing associations seems to define upper middle class living at the cusp of the 20th and 21st Centuries. These McMansions that look alike are also located next to shopping centers with the same stores. I wanted to explore how identities form and become alienated in these regulated private communities. So I made a detournement.

Photo Detournement by Chris Girard

Glass, mirrors, fog, blur and shadows symbolize intimacy. These selfies are taken indoors and reflected on glass and mirrors taken on different beds.

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Hyperpoetry: The Route Throughout

The Route Throughout, hyperpoetry by Chris Girard

The Route Throughout is a long epic poem self-published on a paper zine in 2003 and turned to web browser-based hyperpoetry a decade-or-so later.

Zine to Hypertext…

The paper zine was originally Google translated from a French poem, then collaged, then written, then rewritten in 2003 to 2005. Then it was republished again in 2010 and 2017. The results were originally made as a script for an experimental documentary that was never filmed. In 2005, the poem was self-published into a zine. Copies were distributed to bookstores on Valencia Street in San Francisco like Dog Eared Books and Modern Times Books.

Years later, I found the zines collecting dust in a box and began to look through the few paper copies I have left, and decided to publish it online.

The Route Throughout, Excerpt of Hypertext by Chris Girard

I embedded into the poem the filmic directions of the original script that have never been included before as an interactive element of the poem. Like TRY ME., revealing the process of how the poem was envisioned through hyperlinks is an important part of the interaction with the poem. I also included all of the surrealist photography I photographed. I scanned from a film scanner and incorporated into the paper version of zine. The black lines in some of the photo series denote the spaces between negative images.

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Street Signs & Audio – Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus

Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus, street signs, by Chris Girard

Chris Girard describes the audio and video poems from the installation.

Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus is a multimedia installation and experiment in new media poetics that strategically re-imagines authorial identities. These identities are particularly those from street signs and audio clips of renowned confessional poet Sylvia Plath. By presenting collaged audio and video recordings, the project radically questions the power traditionally associated with the author. Since Plath’s suicide almost 50 years ago, she continues to be cast as a depressed wife and mother. The imperatives of this role still weigh heavy upon the production of her biography and the reception of her work.

The collaging of audio and video clips reembodies Plath as an omnipresent ghost and shifts meaning away from an exclusive association with the tragically depressed, the pathologized Plath. But, instead of disembodying the writing entirely away from the author, the author now wavers productively between Plath, reader/viewer and myself. The act of shifting references away from the author’s life and intention enables the writing to become more open to alternate interpretation, more open to this new historical moment and audience.

Print Versions

The collaged audio and video poems can be experienced through watching and listening to them. Printable PDF versions of the audio and video poems can be found here for audio and here for video.

Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus, 2009-10, Audio Collage

Installation Details

The installation consists of audio and video collages that are created through the cutting and rearranging of prerecorded audio and video recordings of texts into sequences of connected texts that play new poems.

The audio component was collaged from the poems that Sylvia Plath read in the early 1960s entitled Lady Lazarus and The Applicant to form a new hybrid poem entitled Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus.

Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus, 2009-10, Video Collage

The video component was a series of video collages of texts documented near the location where Plath committed suicide in Camden, London. The installation explores how meaning shifts from the intended authors recorded on the audio, video and images to myself through the process of collaging and recording the installation objects.

Theory Alert…

While the project primarily touches on issues of authorship, embodiment and performativity, discourse surrounding digital and new media poetics shows the effect it has on the reader too. It shows how the attribution of an author by the reader becomes complicated from the instability and constantly changing state of screen-based interfaces like that of the project.

For example… Plath, an American who lived in England for only a few years, oddly spoke with a fake English accent during these readings. It suggests a construction of identity to place. The audio presents a phonetic collage of Plath’s voice from BBC recordings of her poems Lady Lazarus and The Applicant during her stay in London and a few years before her death in 1963. The fragments of audio are sliced, extracted and rearranged from individual words of her readings to produce a seamless collage of poetry.

In theoretical terms, the project explores ‘performativity’ of the ‘author function’. The ‘author function’ is a term coined by poststructural theorist Michel Foucault to describe how readers attribute certain characteristics that they believe belong to the author and ascribe them to the writing.

‘Performativity’ is a term used by philosopher Judith Butler to describe a set of actions that ascribe and predetermine a set of attributes to a subject through his or her gender, age, timeframe, nationality and race.

The performativity of the author function appropriates these characteristics of an identity and attributes the characteristics to the author. For a much longer explanation, please see Ph.D. thesis here.

Installation Process & Behind-The-Scenes…

This image shows the process of collaging words from Sylvia Plath’s Lady Lazarus and The Applicant (bottom tracks) with SoundTrack Pro to form a new hybrid poem Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus (top track).

A poem was created based on street and storefront signs found near Plath’s former residence and place of death in Camden, London. These clips were weaved together on iMovie and inspired by experimental filmmaker Hollis Frampton’s film entitled Zorns Lemma. They are composed of texts arranged in a semiotic sequence that are subservient to their visual surroundings. The cadence of sound and the sequence of visual texts from instructional and public signs filmed within a five block perimeter of 23 Fitzroy Road reflect the constraint and play of a historical moment.

The plaque images show a transformation of a historical moment to an instruction. William Butler Yeats lived in the same townhouse that Plath committed suicide in about 25 years before. Though both are noted figures, only the plaque of Yeats is shown in front of 23 Fitzroy Road. This component was included in the installation as 4×6 matte photos scattered on the floor.

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A Code Poem: Gestalt

Gestalt is a code poem collaged and made on Max.

Code Poem / Collage Poetry

Gestalt is a code poem created by using a collage of the codes that constitute and run the visual programming language Max/MSP/Jitter from Cycling ’74.

You can download the Max/MSP/Jitter patch from my website here: gestalt.zip (12.6 MB)

Technical Aspects

In order to play it, either you have Max or you may download a free trial of Max/MSP/Jitter on the Cycling ’74 downloads page, here. If you’re not interested in creating your own projects with Max/MSP/Jitter, you may also download Max Runtime which is freeware that doesn’t include editing capabilities. Max Runtime is on the right hand side of the downloads page, under “Extras.”

Introduction

When I first was introduced to Max during a demonstration for a DANM orientation at UC Santa Cruz in early 2008, I was enraptured by the architectural structure of white boxes and cables. I relish the memory because I don’t remember anything else about the program nor what it was supposed to do.

At the forefront of what I still find interesting about Max/MSP is still this visual aspect of code. The code is set in a myriad of uniform and white rectangles interwoven to form an architectural substructure of boxes connected to cables or black lines. They go to a hierarchical box that represents the focal point of Max/MSP. About 200 predefined object codes not only mimic the visual and aesthetic interface of Max, but function as a poem and run the program that streams ‘poetry’. Elements embedded into the program like the sound filter and the background color visually demonstrate how the evolving imagery can be interwoven into poetry.

Code As Code

The fragments of code function with the power to output and edit another a program that streams poetry through a structure of cables that connect to make noise. In other words, what I did was collage the objects with other objects and connect some objects within the poem to external outputs. The code is edited to run in slow motion with a filter to further obstruct the voice into an inaudible one. This is so that the sound aids in the inflection of the visual poem and not distract it. I wove together predefined object codes in an attempt to create a seamless collage to mimic a visual and an aesthetic interface like Max that will function as a poem and also run a program.

The playback with media unfolds provocative allusions to programming from a slow disjointed poem. It reflects the absurd digital kitsch of which the object the code is creating. All of the words that constitute the poem are from about 200 predefined object codes. The elements of this project like the sound filter and the background color are unnecessary but demonstrate code as poetry.

I believe that Max/MSP could be provocative within the context of what the viewer is not supposed to see, hear nor interact with. The visual perspective of Max/MSP is troublesome because as a visual tool, the systematic and architectural structures of the boxes are more visually appealing to me than function of boxes as output.

Max/MSP as Visual Interface

The ease of using Max/MSP is through its visuals. Max/MSP’s visual layout offers similarities to futurist poetry over a century ago in terms of direction and output. Futurist poets explored the ways of reading poetry similar to a current of electricity flowing in several directions. A futurist poem intermingles and connect to several boxes in different directions function similarly to a these cables.

As the poem entitled Gestalt reads from left to right and downward with each line break, the cables that connect this poem simultaneously traverse from the poem to its output. Gestalt is an object code and also means a collection of entities that creates a unified concept, which is greater than the sum of its parts. How poetry and code can fundamentally be explored through its semantic structure is with language as symbols for commands that have the power to create a representation of programming as poetry.

Max/MSP as Visual Art

I believe Max/MSP excels with music and music with the aid of external electronics but I am left unconvinced that the program is suitable for dialectically accomplishing more than the equivalent of a computer screensaver. Peter Elsea advised me to implement in my poetry in a colorful 3D display of traveling text in standing gravity with point perspective.

I thought about the dancing sentence and how it could be written with so many codes is really limiting to the exploration of text itself. While the dancing sentence follows a serious digital kitsch movement in interactive poetics, which pokes fun at mainstream Internet culture and its overuse of bright neon colors and revolving texts, this kind of enticement is not my cup of tea. What I tried to accomplish with Max was to show aesthetics of code and partly with the program’s interface that isn’t used or shown in art.

The code structurally represents how the poem can be recreated. Similarly, the evolving imagery is a visual representation of poetry in its composition and movement. Each box represents a single still image as part of a series like film stills to a moving image. The random fading in and out of imagery is to show a visual connection between the compositions of the imagery.

The inspiration for the visual and audio portion of this project, which I created on Soundtrack Pro is filmmaker Hollis Frampton. Hollis Frampton inspires me because his video cutups, specifically from his film Palindrome, represent a fragmentation of frame stills to achieve a dialectic result, like poetry, between each still. What he did in Palindrome was weave the ends of several filmstrips to create an abstract film of different shapes. Both of our cut-ups represent a disembodiment of its original form.

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A Book of Hypertext Poems: TRY ME.

TRY ME. Hypertext poetry from spam by Chris Girard

A Hypertext Book

The hypertext book of poems, entitled TRY ME., can be viewed here.

Spam, or more colloquially known as unsolicited junk email, is collaged to create this series of hypertext poems. I collected spam over the course of an eight month period and then began working the magic. Embedded passages of literature are therefore found in the spam. The original spam emails are rearranged and collaged with the embedded literature to form a new and hybrid poem.

I kept all of the words from the original literature in the process of collaging the poems that constitute TRY ME. Literary excerpts include J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Constraint

While an anagram is the rearrangement of letters from a given word or phrase to another, a lexical anagram is the rearrangement of a lexicon or words from one given body of text to another. I employed a ‘lexical anagram’ as a binding constraint to conjoin the writing of this digital book of poems. This conjoining of words means that all of the words from the source body are woven into the new one.

Interaction

Hypertext page excerpt of TRY ME by Chris Girard
A reader interacts with TRY ME. by clicking on a series of hyperlinks that appear on each new page. Each hyperlink changes the context and meaning of the preceding poem. Text blinks and moves throughout the page to modify how each of the poems is read on subsequent pages. The poems are displayed in chronological order from which the spam was found. The original date shows the date in 2006 from which the spam was retrieved.

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Collage Poem – Henry’s Body: A Thousand Hacks

Collage Poem taken from John Berry

Henry’s Body: A Thousand Hacks is an audio collage poem made from the all the words taken from poet John Berryman’s reading of his poem Dream Song 29. The project consists of an audio collage from a 1970s recording of confessional poet John Berryman’s drunken reading of his poem Dream Song 29. It was cut up using SoundTrack Pro.

This poem, also known as Poész, constitutes part of a collaborative project with Algerian artist and fellow MFA in Digital Arts and New Media at UC Santa Cruz cohort Lyés Belhocine. Stanzas of the collaged poem are randomized by MAX/MSP/Jitter to sequentially play audio in five and seven syllables.

Henry’s Body:
A Thousand Hacks

Clicking here will let you view the PDF version of how I organized the text collage of John Berryman’s Dream Song 29 as an ordinary stanzaic poem.

This two minute video of the poetry reading offers you to listen to the cut-up poem and read my iteration of the audio collage of John Berryman’s reading of Dream Song 29.


This is a screenshot of the MAX/MSP/Jitter program that was built to play the stanzas on multiple speakers.

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Ten and One Left: 11 Line Poems

From Ten and One Left, 11 Line Poems by Chris Girard

Ten and One Left is a 64-page series of 11 line poems taken and collaged from my old LiveJournals from 2001 to 2004. This book constitutes two years of my MFA studies at Otis College of Art and Design and is the practice component of my MFA thesis from 2008.

Ten and One Left is viewable in its entirety as a downloadable PDF. It offers a look into the compilation of my poems.

11 Line Poems

Poetry on Yelp by Chris Girard

Ten and One Left, the series of eleven-line poems, is collaged from my old LiveJournals. These LiveJournal usernames are quietness and qu, and were used from 2001 to 2004. Like the nonsensical or cryptic tags that are often embedded into blog posts, I reposted the poems onto social reviewing websites including Yelp. As a result, the poem lived on Yelp for eight and a half years until it was deleted by Yelp admins in 2016.

Symbol of Eleven

As part of my MFA thesis at Otis College of Art and Design, a baby Ars Poetica of mine details my philosophy about the eleven line poems. I explored the meaning of eleven. While eleven is imperfect in its quantity, 11 (two ones) is perfect at face value.

Eleven is a symbol for the imperfect and yet is a symmetrical number that has a symbolic relationship with the exterior like an outsider and the spectacle of a crowd. The number eleven is derived from the old english word Endleofan. It literally means ten and one left or the base of one plus a second element.

While the poems are subservient to a number of lines, they explore obstruction. The obstructiveness repurposes the former poems by the illustration and change of a public text’s exposure. The texts which inspire the set of poems are read by a plural audience to experience a feeling of homogenized familiarity. The feeling of disconnection resounds in the subsequent poem. And it evokes a thought or emotion set in false pretenses. The struggle is to make ephemeral texts durable by collaging a lyrical cadence of paradoxes.