by Alisa Golden
Author’s Note: The (de)fine (poe)try project began with an iPhone app called “Address Booklet and Cards.” The app is meant to turn your contact list into a printable, foldable little booklet or stack of clipped cards. For letterpress printers and bookmakers, the alphabet book is always a lure, and so I was compelled to create an a-z contact list from one-word titles. The poems were made under the constraint that I could only use words found in dictionary definitions and in the order they occurred. I tried to pick words with long definitions: a storehouse of potential meaning for the poems.
But these poems were actually erasures, compressed poems made by gleaning from a longer text. I wanted to see all that text and make the reading more visually interesting. Scouring the dictionary again, this time without using the app, I typed, adapted, and edited the definitions, left the words in order, and featured the words of each poem in bold red type. I adjusted the line lengths for rhythm. Now, the viewer could both read the poem and see where it came from. And so, the twenty-six poems of (de)fine (poe)try were born.
[Editor’s Note: Matter Press will be publishing twenty-six (26) adapted erasure poems from “act” to “zephyr” that are part of the (de)fine (poe)try project series, one a week, for 26 weeks. 23 of 26]
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