Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 2

You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since winter, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities. This year, in addition to scheduling some of the regular long versions, I have decided to do one segment of a Marathon each week. Two to three hours set aside for poetry, outside my regular life.

I first had the idea in conjunction with receiving a membership to the Chestnut Hill College library, where I have had many Marathon sessions – thinking I would visit the library once a week for the writing session. My husband’s accident has amended my plans. But I’m not giving up. I did the first session on January 6 in the Nazareth Hospital (Philadelphia, PA) cafeteria, while he was in surgery.

At the time, I just wanted to distract myself from worry. But then it occurred to me that I could just…keep going with my idea by fitting it in where and when I could each week. I’ve given things a more formal name now – Installment Plan Poetry Marathon. I’m going to take my installments as they fall and get back to the College library when things even out. I’ll chronicle each session, one way or another.

OK. For this past week, I was restricted to home, caring for my husband. I decided I would Marathon in my art studio, at my table there, and work on snippets. I also wanted to devote some listening time to my Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings CDs. Sharon Jones is one of my favorites, and she died in November. There will be no more music from her. I was very sad about this, and hearing her sing again was something just right for this time.

So on Thursday, January 12, here we go into my studio, CD player at the ready, and my snippet brain on alert.

Walk down the stairs and you’ll see my table I use for non-glue/paint/mess-making work.


Quick glance to the left – here is the whole room, art tables over there.


But keep walking…around the table, and sit down. I have my snippets materials laid out.


I had cut out phrases and words from the pages of discarded books some time ago. I shook them out into a big pile.


I took each tiny scrap of paper and started to lay things out. When doing colalge poetry I arrange words and phrases that seem to want to go together. I don’t think too hard about meaning or theme – just let them fall into groups. A snippet to me is usually three lines (longer one, I call it collage poetry). So I am looking to get three lines. Then I have a snippet!

Words start to accumulate. Shift groups. Travel all over the terrain. When the right words are together, I just know it. Then I glue them to an ATC card-sized background.

Some collage poetry sessions are torturous. Nothing coheres and I am frustrated by balky words. This session, though, was like magic. Snippets flew into place. I ended up with about 20 or so, plus a couple of short collage poems. My goodness, what a nice afternoon!

Here is one of them for you to see:



41 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 2

    • Thank you. I liked that line because I also think panic can freeze you – so the ice water image could go in more than one direction. The studio is really comfortable – we bought this house in part because of it – but I will say when we did buy, the place was a wreck – this room had no floor in part of it – and brown suede wallpaper. We did most of the work in this and the rest of the house ourselves and 14 years later, I haven’t seen any other place I’d want to be.

    • You’re welcome. Every so often I like to show the collage poetry process, such as it is, because new people might not understand and I hope more people might try it! As for the studio, it is a real haven for me. We bought this house almost 14 years ago in a state of total disrepair (this room had no floor in part of it after the concrete slab had to be taken up due to damage), brown suede wallpaper, and a smell of damp and cigarette smoke. But I loved how much space I could have for art (there is also a basement area for me to work with clay) and at a good price. We have done most of the rehab ourselves and now the place is just – perfect, I think! For us, anyway.

    • Thank you. It has gotten to be very cozy (thank you, thrift store furniture and cast off tables and so on that have come together to help me out!) And it is nice having a big window to look out of to the outside.

    • Thank you. I am very lucky having this studio – a benefit of this fixer upper house ( now fixed up and comfortable, but this room was a cave when we first saw it!). And snippets and collage poetry – perfect place to do this form of poetry, this studio. It has a good atmosphere.

  1. Thanks so much for showing us your art room. It looks like a great space to work in. And I also liked seeing your snippet process…a glimpse behind the scenes 🙂

    • In our previous house I was in the attic! So when we moved here, the house was smaller, but this room was available, being a split-level and this the lower level. When we moved here, the place was a wreck. I mean as in, this room had no floor (the slab had cracked and had to be replaced). So I am extra grateful for this space as it is now.

    • Thank you. We were lucky when we found this house, falling down as it was almost 14 years ago. This studio space is really a luxury and I am grateful to have so much room to spread out my things.

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