Metaphor: Poem as Object

Posted: October 30, 2013 in Uncategorized
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“Ephemera” was this week’s theme. The assignment was to create a poem that would fade over time. The example we practiced in class was sidewalk chalk, i.e., write it on the ground, then it rains, and it’s gone forever.

My grand idea was to take scissors and cut a poem into the grass, and then take a picture of it from the roof. In execution, this idea did not work out so well: I cut my words far too small to be seen from the roof, even with my little phone camera zoomed in as far as it could be. Days before, I had gone up to the roof on a reconnaissance mission to take pictures of the area I planned to work in, and gauge how big I needed my letters to be. But, alas, it didn’t really help. I’m sure math would have been useful here—the angle of my vision from the elevated height, the difference of how things farther away look smaller—there must be equations for this.

“For Keeps” was the poem—or aphorism, really—that I chose. Because it isn’t for keeps, the grass will grow back. Ba-da-bum. I’m going to give this project a second go-around, now that I’ve, in a sense, done a first draft. I can also better estimate how long it will take. (In my too-small first edition, I spent about 5 minutes per letter, cutting with scissors. I need to give myself a bigger window of time in which to complete it.) Also, I’m not really happy with scissors as my cutting implement, but I can’t think of anything else to use. I don’t want to till the dirt, just give the grass a haircut. Any suggestions for a different tool are appreciated.

It’s also worth noting that this assignment brings up the idea of how we experience art, experience a poem. If we’re not in the environment when the poem is happening, then we don’t get to experience it. One could see a photograph of it after the fact, but that’s different from being in the same space as the poem during its intended existence. 

-Holly Weinberg 

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