Sunday, July 13, 2008

There's some interesting work at John Bloomberg-Rissman's blog - a project which starts with a poem by seminal Filipino poet Jose Garcia Villa, translated by Eileen Tabios, and creates "1,000 Views" of it by transforming the original text in various ways "using methods developed by bpNichol, Steve McCaffery, David Cameron, Jackson Mac Low, John Cage, Christian Bök, Oulipo, Charles Bernstein, Bernadette Mayer, etc". John is accepting contributions from people who want to play. The project is coming along nicely with some fine visual poetry, artwork and textual shenanigins.

The idea of transforming an original text got me re-reading some of the late poetry of Theodore Enslin, in which he takes a chunk of verse and performs a series of variations on it in a way analgous to musical variations (he is also a composer). Some of this work is hypnotic and strangely moving - an effect is generated by a combination of the poem as self-contained textual unit, and by sound and rhythm - some effects only becoming apparent when the poems are read out loud. Thank you JBR for reminding me of this stuff.

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