On the weekend I was talking with Adam. I wondered what would happen, the poem we would each create, if given the same page of a book as the starting point.
I chose page 95 of Wordsworth Classic’s version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Upon taking up my black marker, I realised something that struck me listening to Anna Gibbs’ essay at the Ficto-Critical approaches to a Writing Architecture colloquium I was lucky enough to attend several weeks ago at UQ. There is a physicality in cut up that isn’t there in block out. In cut up you literally take up scissors and glue, dissect and rearrange the page to create something new (at least that is the way it is for me). Block out, in comparison, feels far more passive to me.
I also realised as I started blocking out words, there is a freedom in cut up that does not exist in block out. There is no ability to shift phrases around. It’s incredibly locked down.
A Bright Idea
Lived at the bottom of a well
Took interest in questions
Eating and drinking treacle
To fancy herself extraordinary
My brain was working in cut up mode – looking for phrases to fit together, rather than singling out words and stringing them together.
Block out is a very different way of approaching the page. One I’ll need significant time with in order to override the cut up default of thinking.
The Only Regret
I wished I’d had a copy of the page to do a cut up. There were some sublime phrases in there I wanted to remix. There is no doubt cut up would have elicited a very different type of poem.