three hundred

Evie Shockley and Julie Ezelle Patton’s work struck me the hardest, and I find that I’m still having difficulty articulating analyses for experimental literature. I’ve noticed, interestingly, that my thoughts about the work come abstracted—it’s been a challenge to think about experimental work in a traditional-critical kind of way. I looked at Evie Shockley’s “a thousand words” and was interested in the process but didn’t really know how I’d talk about it. I figured if I couldn’t conceptualize what was happening as I read then I could try something active. If I copied the process or whatever I think is the process then maybe I’d come to some kind an understanding. It looks like a word association exercise so I tried simply imagining words. I expected them to appear in my head but nothing was happening without any context; I needed context. I was reading about the donald trump sexual assault allegations and his comments from 2005. In the tape he says “you can do anything” a reference to the female body and accessibility. I tried using “anything” as the framework, as Shockley used torture. The first word in each line is pulled from the article and I tried word association from there. What happened for me was that phrases started to come. I’d opened up headspace for nonsensical and incomplete thoughts and I really liked what was coming. That kind of process allowed more room. I hadn’t given myself any indirect or implied parameters as I may have in another space and I ended up with more material than I expected that could be manipulated and fleshed out. And the process and the piece were made much more valuable to me: three hundred

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One Response to three hundred

  1. Erica Mena says:

    Fantastic – active reading and imitation are a great way to engage with poems and gain intimacy with them. Shockely’s “A Thousand Words” is alluding to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” and then painting a picture (the shape on the page) with the words, but the words are doing more than just creating a visual space on the page as you’ve pointed out and I think association is a big part of that. She’s pointing us towards how words and images are always incomplete, always reaching outwards towards more, always carrying with them the context and connections of the reader. Your “Three Hundred” makes me think of the movie “The Three Hundred” but I’m not quite sure where to go with that (especially since I didn’t see the movie). I wonder about other allusions in the title for yours, what is in three hundred words? I love the frame the page creates in the work. This is a great piece!


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