Posted by: birdmaddgirl | 18 July 2014

don’t stop get it get it don’t stop being so futuristic

this week i finally started a side project i’ve had percolating in my head for a while: mashup poems. not a unique idea, of course. and as someone who knows more than i’d like to about permissions issues, i can’t ignore the fact that no matter how well any of these turn out, i will never publish them. but still. mashup poem happy for days.

i love mashups in general for much the same reason i love poetry: unexpected and worthwhile new relationships from the junkyard of the familiar. a mashup works because the dj has winnowed down to a backbone beat that will unify what was once separate; there is pleasure in thoughtful and surprising juxtapositions. like a dj or the editor of an anthology, what i bring to my versions is about selection and compilation.

since these are essentially “for me” writings, what do i get out of my mashup exercises? among the biggest benefits i am noticing are attention to rhythm, to patterns of repetition, and to tension within/between lines without the (other) heavy lifting of generating words and ideas. my poems generally have lots of musical and cultural allusions, and explicitly collaging two or three sets of raw material brings those influences out into the open in ways that let me think about them differently. i don’t get to hide behind my own smokescreens. the poems i write that i value most wrestle with something i can’t fully process or resolve, and these weird little beasts are helping me get at some of that.

 

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