Hi, here’s Björn, many autumn greetings to your all. I have just started a course in creative writing, and for the first week we had an assignment to write a poem with no meaning at all, actually avoiding all sense of meaning, still using all kind of poetic devices we have learned. As inspiration we got a piece from “Tender Buttons” by Gertrude Stein. Of course I have never studied English literature, so I only knew Gertrude Stein from her life with Alice B Toklas and how she inspired many famous artists in the early 20th century. At first when reading her pieces I couldn’t make anything of it. The book contains 3 parts: OBJECTS, FOOD and ROOMS, and the first piece from OBJECTS is probably the most famous:
A CARAFE, THAT IS A BLIND GLASS.
A kind in glass and a cousin, a spectacle and nothing strange a single hurt color and an arrangement in a system to pointing. All this and not ordinary, not unordered in not resembling. The difference is spreading.
Maybe it’s most famous because many readers don’t make it past that first piece. *smiles*. But we can note how Gertrude Stein breaks down concept of meaning and grammar, to sound and pieces that somehow is related to the mundane object she is writing about. The focus is on the sounds and the poetic devices — still it’s very related to object. A friend at the course, Sandra Jabre, had taken the effort of going back and reading how Gertrude Stein really wrote her poem. Sandra sent in the following piece:
In a bind
In a slip drip of sulfur yellow
antonyms climb a story mellow.
Interestingly, the farrow lay a pond
unbeknownst to the purple sparrow.
Why then, would cardboard swallow
dressing sensuous dark?
In an angsty breeze the chick-a-dee decided on two-ply for its needs.
© Sandra Jabre
So today I would like you to release that flow of word without restraint to grammar or meaning. In a way it’s the same thing a cubist painter would do, break it apart and present it again. Maybe repeating the same image/word for effect. Use pleasing colors/sounds and all tools you know – but really try to avoid all sense and meaning, and just like the beauty of a cubist painting appears after looking at it for a long time (or squinting your eyes), I’m sure we can create wonders here tonight. Any or no form at all is good.
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