Title:66 Experiments by Charles Bernstein (love this)
Author: Language Is A Virus
The Internet, Online, 11/05/2016
Comment: This is a very interesting article I hadto share it.
1. Homolinguistic translation: Take a poem (someone else’s, then your own) and translate it “English to English” by substituting word for word, phrase for phrase, line for line, or “free” translation as response to each phrase or sentence. Or translate the poem into another literary style or a different diction, for example into a slang or vernacular. Do several different types of homolinguistic translation of a single source poem. (Cf.Six Fillious by bp nichol, Steve McCaffery, Robert Fillious, George Brecht, Dick Higgins, Dieter Roth, which also included translation of the poem to French and German.) Chaining: try this with a group, sending the poem on for “translation” from person to another until you get back to the first author.
2. Homophonic translation: Take a poem in a foreign language that you can pronounce but not necessarily understand and translate the sound of the poem into English (i.e., French “blanc” to blank or “toute” to toot). (Cf.: Louis and Celia Zukofsky’s Catullus.) (Rewrite to suit?)
3. Lexical translation: Take a poem in a foreign language that you can pronounce but not necessarily understand and translate it word for word with the help of a bilingual dictionary. (Rewrite to suit?) 1-3a. Try a variant of these three translation exercises using the “Lost in Translation” “Babel” engine, or other web-based translations engines, such as Babelfish and Free Translation.com.
4. Acrostic chance: Pick a book at random and use title as acrostic key phrase. For each letter of key phrase go to page number in book that corresponds (a=1, z=26) and copy as first line of poem from the first word that begins with that letter to end of line or sentence. Continue through all key letters, leaving stanza breaks to mark each new key word. (Cf.: Jackson Mac Low’s Stanzas for Iris Lezak.) Variations include using author’s name as code for reading through her or his work, using your own or friend’s name, picking different kinds of books for this process, devising alternative acrostic procedures.
5. Tzara’s hat: Everyone in a group writes down a word (alternative: phrase, line) and puts it in a hat. Poem is made according to the order in which it is randomly pulled from hat. (Solo: pick a series of words or lines from books, newspapers, magazines to put in the hat.)
6. Burroughs’s fold-in: Take two different pages from a newspaper or magazine article, or a book, and cut the pages in half vertically. Paste the mismatched pages together. (Cf.: William Burroughs’s The Third Mind.) Use the computer cut-up engine to perform a similar task automatically.
7. Write a poem and cut it somewhere in the middle, then recombine with the beginning part following the ending part.
8. General cut-ups: Write a poem composed entirely of phrases lifted from other sources. Use one source for a poem and then many; try different types of sources: literary, historical, magazines, advertisements, manuals, dictionaries, instructions, travelogues, etc.
9. Cento: Write a collage made up of full-lines of selected source poems.
10. Substitution (1): “Mad libs.” Take a poem (or other source text) and put blanks in place of three or four words in each line, noting the part of speech under each blank. Fill in the blanks being sure not to recall the original context.
11. Substitution (2): “7 up or down.” Take a poem or other, possibly well-known, text and substitute another word for every noun, adjective, adverb, and verb; determine the substitute word by looking up the index word in the dictionary and going 7 up or down, or one more, until you get a syntactically suitable replacement. (Cf.: Lee Ann Brown’s “Pledge” or Clark Coolidge and Larry Fagin, On the Pumice of Morons.)
12. Substitution (3): Find and replace. Systematically replace one word in a source text with another word or string of words. Perform this operation serially with the same source text, increasing the number of words in the replace string.
13. Serial sentences: Select one sentence each from a variety of different books or other sources. Add sentences of your own composition. Combine into one paragraph, reordering to produce the most interesting results.
14. Alphabet poems: make up a poem of 26 words so that each word begins with the next letter of the alphabet. Write another alphabet poem but scramble the letter order.
15. Alliteration (assonance): Write a poem in which all the words in each line begin with the same letter.
16. Doubling: Starting with one sentence, write a series of paragraphs each doubling the number of sentences in the previous paragraph and including all the words used previously. (Cf. Ron Silliman‘s Ketjak)
17. Collaboration: Write poems with one or more other people, alternating words, lines, or stanzas (chaining or renga), writing simultaneously and collaging, rewriting, editing, supplementing the previous version. This can be done in person, via e-mail, or via regular mail.
18. Group sonnet: 14 people each write one ten-word line (or alternate measure) on an index card. Order to suit.
19. Write a poem in which you try to transcribe as accurately as you can your thoughts while you are writing. Don’t edit anything out. Write as fast as you can without planning what you are going to say.
20. Autopilot: Trying as hard as you can not to think or consider what you are writing, write as much as you can as fast you can without any editing or concern for syntax, grammar, narrative, or logic. Try to keep this going for as long as possible: one hour, two hours, three hours: don’t look back don’t look up.
21. Dream work: Write down your dreams as the first thing you do every morning for 30 days. Apply translation and aleatoric processes to this material. Double the length of each dream. Weave them together into one poem, adding or changing or reordering material. Negate or reverse all statements (“I went down the hill to “I went up the hill,” “I didn’t” to “I did”). Borrow a friend’s dreams and apply these techniques to them.
22. Write a poem made up entirely of neologisms or nonsense words or fragments of words. (Cf.: Lewis Carroll‘s “Jabberwocky”, Khlebnikov’s zaum, Schwitters “Ur Sonata” (at UBU “historical”). P. Inman’s Platin, David Melnick’s Pcoet.) Use Neil Hennessy’s JABBER: The Jabberwocky Engine to generate lexicon. Also see The International Dictionary of Neologisms.
23. Write a poem with each line filling in the blanks of “I used to be _____ but now I am ______.” (“I used to write poems, but now I just do experiments”; “I used to make sense, but now I just make poems.”)
24. Write a poem consisting entirely of things you’d like to say, but never would, to a parent, lover, sibling, child, teacher, roommate, best friend, mayor, president, corporate CEO, etc.
25. Take same sentence or stanza and cast it as if said to oneself silently, half-whispered, said to an intimate, said to a small group, said to a large group.
26. Write a poem consisting entirely of overheard conversation…………….
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