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.

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

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

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

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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:

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