Friday, April 25, 2014

Universal Word Deck

If first read about this in the book The Practice of Poetry in the 1990's, where one takes 100 index cards and writes a word on each one. The words would have meaning to the poet, and be used to generate poems from. Think of magnetic poetry before magnetic poetry.

My poems weren't great.

Going through Amy King's I Want to Make You Safe reminded me of this process/project, as words reappear in her poems: moth, milk, wine.

Maybe a project would be making a universal deck, but create poems with a theme in mind. For example: Jazz musicians (each poem reflects the musical attitude of each musician), or a city (places around that city, via memory, memoir, what is said there, etc.).

Maybe the "trick" about the Universal Word Deck is that there needs some kind of variable introduced, as well as some kind of restriction? Using all 100 words would seem too transparent, while choosing fifteen for each poem in a series might work well.

The gist is to create something, a poem, out of a kind of prompt. The Deck is something I will revisit after almost two decades, for sure.

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