Collage Poems: Destructive editing

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the urge to start writing again, I think in part because last month I stumbled upon some short stories I wrote during college and partly because I can’t get the narration to Sascha Ciezata’s short film “The Crossing Place” out of my head. Both have made me want to create an animated short of my own, but my lack of storytelling and animation skills have become a slight stumbling block. So I’m approaching it like I do everything else in life, experiment until I figure it out.

As an exercise I tried writing stories around some of my collages. Each time I found a new image I wanted to work with I’d start browsing the story already written about it, which incidentally isn’t a good method for writing your own. So I began looking for a few key words that I might be able to use as idea starters, which is when I started making connections between unrelated sentences, combining words and fragments to build new ones. As I read them they started sounding very much like poems, something I’ve never tried writing before. Curious, I started making more of them sometimes independent of any images. I began approaching them much in the same way I would create a collage, by cutting out the pieces I’m interested in, deconstructing the existing narrative to make it my own. I find it fascinating that it only takes a few simple edits to completely decontextualized someone’s writing, creating completely new thoughts, and I’m a little surprised it’s taken me this long to figure this out.

It’s been a short detour from my path of making an animated short but like all experiments I’m sure it will be useful in the future. If you want to see more / larger versions of these studies check out the Collage Poem Flickr set. You can read the isolated poems and see a few different paper collages utilizing them. If your interested in any of the paper collages contact me.. I’m sure we can work something out.


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Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010