For Mercy

cento poem, collage, My Creative Work

UPDATE (6/15/15): This piece is forthcoming in the online edition of the 2015 Best American Experimental Writing Anthology. I will post links when it comes out! 🙂

I suppose I am on a role with making things for pleasure this weekend! 🙂

Today, I was wandering around down town instead of heading home from a friend’s house and decided to check out the Seattle Public Library. If you haven’t been, it’s pretty amazing, so you should definitely go the next time you’re in town. I found my way to the art section and picked up a book called Prints & Drawings – A Pictorial History by Gottefried Lindemann. As the title reveals, it goes through the history of graphic art from the late Middle Ages to America in the Twentieth Century. I had such a positive response to the prints in the book that I ended up becoming a member of the library to check it out (and steal the prints for my own work! 🙂 ). While flipping through the book at home, I came across the print I used for my piece above, For Mercy. It is a German print from the Dürer Period which I believe is named after Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) from the Renaissance Period. As you can see from the piece, the print is by Niklaus Manuel Deutsch (1484-1530) and is called Profile Portrait of a (Bernese) Woman

Now, a little backstory for the found text:

Prior to grad school, I had been working with the text The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams – Volume II 1939-1962 and making blackout poems with various pages of the book. (Blackout poems are when you take an existing text, whether it be a newspaper or page in a book or page in a magazine etc., choose words from the text in the order they appear on the page, and then blackout everything else. Here is a link to Austin Kleon’s archive of blackout poems for examples.  http://austinkleon.com/category/newspaper-blackout-poems/ ) I can post some of the ones I have made later. When I came upon the Deutsch portrait, I decided to flip through WCW’s book and make a blackout poem inspired by the picture. After making one version, I realized it would be WAY cooler to make a collage instead, and used an exacto-knife to cut out the words and letters from the page. For reference, I used page 75 which included the end of the poem The Rose, and the full poems Rumba! Rumba! and A Plea For Mercy. 

I hope you guys like it. Let me know what you think of it in the comment section. 🙂

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5 thoughts on “For Mercy

  1. I can’t decide whether an exacto-knife, multi-purpose ax or just a plain old plunger is the must have accessory for every gal, but I will say black out poems and and the cut-up method of expressing oneself poetically is quite a startling and beautiful way of artistic expression. This particular piece is charming inasmuch as it corresponds with a state I frequently find myself in. I really like the physical as well as the syntactical placement of the words. Nice work, Tray.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha well, plunger and axe use are not unheard of in our family! You are right though. It is startling! If you really want to be startled, check out Kathy Acker’s work. I am glad you like it, Neenee! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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