Well, it only sounds pretentious because, um… it kind of is.
Referencing Ginsberg in the name of my blog and Morgan in the tagline is ambitious to say the least, but they’re both geniuses and I am not and I wanted to make a good first impression. I just want you to like me! Writerly cliché no.1 – desperate for approval. Check!
Also, it does kind of explain what I am trying to do. I am a concrete poet. I think. I was watching ‘Howl’ the other day and the phrase ‘concrete void’ just leapt out and grabbed me, so I took it as a gift. And I’m appallingly bad at naming things so having managed to think of one name I was not inclined to attempt to think of another.
And the tagline? Glad you asked, voice-in-my-head. Edwin Morgan is not only one of my favourite writers but the first concrete poet I ever encountered at the tender age of 16. I fell in love with him, instantly. And although it took quite a while to filter through, the idea that a poem was not just words or rhythm but an object never left me. I love looking at poetry. Not just reading it but looking at it, as an object in space. I may even, on occasion, have inappropriately stroked a particularly appealing page. But only when it is printed on very high quality paper! And it was always consensual, I swear. I think that is why I prefer the term ‘concrete’ to ‘visual’. The former speaks of a tactile thing, not just something that you look at.
The first concrete poem I ever wrote didn’t start off concrete. But I finished it, and it wasn’t finished. I didn’t want to add any words to it, but the way it was on the page wasn’t the way it was in my head. So I moved some of the words around, and it bloomed. A short poem of only 11 lines, it went from being crammed in the upper left corner and suddenly took up an entire page, words carved out of empty space. That was what was missing – not words, but space. The words I had just needed room to breathe.
After that, I was addicted. Whenever I wrote a poem I couldn’t help myself from fiddling with the layout afterwards, and I was never happier than when a poem fit perfectly into one page.
This does, however, present me with a bit of a problem. Publishing my work on a blog will change it, as I no longer have pages to play with. I am planning to try and write some stuff specifically for the internet, that similarly couldn’t be printed on a page. But I haven’t had a good enough idea yet. Hey, it’s my first day as a blogger, okay?
But for now what I primarily hope to use this blog for is a recent found poetry project I have undertaken. For 11 days now, I have purchased a different newspaper every day and found a current affairs article in it that particularly interested me. Then, using a permanent marker, I black out most of the words. I then cut the paper up and stick sections in blocks into a notebook, the idea being that these blocks are the equivalent of stanzas. Hopefully, by doing this, I have written a poem! I intend to keep doing one of these a day, every day, for 365 days.
However, I am way too lazy to update this every day, so I am going to try to put up one a week. I will also blog occasionally about the process.
Hopefully people will be interested enough to check back regularly! Again, any and all constructive feedback will be very welcome.