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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