What is Experimental Poetry and how does it Relate to Wool Work of Weaving Tapestries, Knitting and Crochet

Pha! That’s what experimental poetry is, unknown territory. Pushing past the boundaries of traditional thinking, and discovering the constraints of our own thoughts through poetry. Sometimes it can be facilitated as if an Art Therapy lesson; set the scene, mindful breath, calm music, don’t think – pick your pigments, paint brushes, ink, pens, oil sticks, glue, acrylic…whatever and just make marks on the page…and then when you look back you can spot big themes in your life that you had never paid attention to before, except its poetry.

My own poetry shocks me, I see themes in it of things I won’t talk about, and yet there it is in plain sight in my poems. I pick words as if pigments and weave them into something that is not from me…I enjoy it. Sometimes I pay attention to a constraint, I love verbs and so usually have a rule of a verb for every breath (line of poetry) Often, I incorporate some thoughts of influences from the Dadaists or the Surrealist Manifesto. My main rule for writing is chaos.

Never write in a quiet room. That is not a true reflection of life. I love to write while the dinner cooks, a dog is barking, a child is biting, a husband is talking, a friend is calling…A classroom, at break-time is the ideal time to write. You have 5 minutes to write, kids milling back into the classroom for forgotten hats/snacks, teachers waiting for you in the staffroom (for a chat or an audience for their chat) and the noise…the noise of screaming, shouting, kicking, running, twirling children. I become coal, the pressure makes the beginnings of words and a poem becomes a rough diamond to be later washed, polished and refined.

And all of this can be applied to asemic poetry or visual poetry.

Except with those you use mark-making tools and write too fast to be literate. You can read it back and mine it for meaning if you wish or accept that it means nothing as life means nothing (I love Dadaism and the Absurbd but it does scare me and so I will find meaning in anything if it suits my heart. Although this is more dangerous than accepting no meaning as what will you do when you are faced with an unequivocal and devastating loss…search for meaning and find yourself (wrongly) to blame…I find it is better to stay loose and easy with meaning, maybe see a smidge of meaning behind a veil and leave it at that…this can save you from life’s crushing blows.)

So what does this have to do with knitting and weaving have to do with experimental poetry?

Both are about the materialisation of matter. Making something from a vision of fog with a hint of hope ahead. The spinning and weaving of fabric has been going on since humans began to settle with evidence of weaving in Paleolithic times (27,000 years ago).

Ever noticed how much writers and poets use metaphors from fabric creation?

Weaving, in particular…a thought/vision begets life that has shape, holds structure, and has a look of colour. weaving becomes a metaphor for creating any structure, or structured thing.

I love how the author weaves the story….each voice is a thread…this poems is excellent at spinning and weaving as metaphors…this book reads as if a tapestry…

Even in life: To tie the knot – one of the fundamental meaning of life (so we are told but to each their own blessed way) is to get hitched (a hitch is a stitch)

What is Warp and Weft?

They are the two basic components used in weaving to turn thread or yarn (sheeps’ wool being the most common, sheered, skirted, nibs removed, washed, carded, made into bats, and then spun) into fabric for clothing (how Biblicial…no longer naked in The Garden of Edan). The length/longitudinal warp yarns are held stationary in tension on a frame or loom while the transverse/horizontal weft is drawn through – over and under the warp. 

How Does Fabric/Weaving Relate to Poetry/Writing

What is Experimental Poetry and how does it Relate to Wool Work of Weaving Tapestries, Knitting and Crochet.

Pha! That’s what experimental poetry is, unknown territory. Pushing past the boundaries of traditional thinking, and discovering the constraints of our own thoughts – through poetry. Sometimes it can be facilitated as if an Art Therapy lesson; 

set the scene, 

mindful breath, 

calm music, 

don’t think,

pick your pigments: 

paint brushes, ink, oil sticks, glue, acrylic…

and just make marks on the page.

And then when you look back you can spot big themes in your life that you had never paid attention to before, except its poetry.

My own poetry shocks me, I see themes, overall motifs and patterns in it of things I don’t talk about, as if hidden and not an obvious part of me and yet…that hidden thing becomes a part of the poem, existing anew, in plain sight in my poems. 

I pick words as if pigments and weave them into something that is not from me but through me, I enjoy it. Sometimes I pay attention to a constraint: I love verbs and so usually have a rule of a verb for every breath (line of poetry) Often, I incorporate some thoughts of influences from the Dadaists or the Surrealist Manifesto. My main rule for writing though, is chaos.

Never write in a quiet room, I say! That is not a true reflection of life. I love to write while the dinner cooks, a dog is barking, a child is biting, a husband is talking, a friend is calling…A classroom, at break-time, is a cool time to write. You have 5 minutes to write, kids milling back into the classroom for forgotten hats/snacks, teachers waiting for you in the staffroom (for a chat or an audience for their chat) and the noise…the noise of screaming, shouting, kicking, running, twirling children. I become coal, the pressure makes the beginnings of words and a poem becomes a rough diamond to be later washed, polished and refined. (Let’s pause, diamonds are not made of coal despite what some histories say, they are not made from organic matter which coal is, and diamonds have been found that date back to pre-existing before coal. They are formed from rocks and an extreme hot temperature; such as asteroids striking the earth. That metaphor I used was poetic licence. I am only making this point as I cannot stand sloppy metaphors or misinformation! Even my own sloppy metaphors. Always do your own research. Don’t fossil fuels freak you out…once organic matter and now heating my home?)

And all of this can be applied to asemic poetry or visual poetry.

Except with vispo you use mark-making tools and write too fast to be lettered. You can read it back and mine it for meaning, if you wish, or, accept that it means nothing – as life means nothing (I love Dadaism and the Absurd but it does scare me and so I will find meaning in anything if it suits my heart. Although this is more dangerous than accepting no meaning as what will you do when you are faced with an unequivocal and devastating loss? Search for meaning and find yourself (wrongly) to blame? I find it is better to stay loose and easy with meaning, maybe see a smidge of meaning behind a veil and leave it at that…this can save you from life’s crushing blows.)

So what does this have to do with knitting and weaving have to do with experimental poetry?

Both concern the materialisation of matter. Making something from a vision of fog with a hint of hope ahead. The spinning and weaving of fabric has been in existence since the cave man, with evidence of weaving in Palaeolithic times (27,000 years ago).

Ever noticed how much writers and poets use metaphors from fabric creation?

Weaving, in particular…a thought/vision begets life that has shape, holds structure, and has a look of colour. Weaving becomes a metaphor for creating any shape, or structured thing.

Forexample:

“I love how the author weaves the story….each voice is a thread…this poem is excellent at spinning and weaving metaphors…this book reads as if a tapestry…”

Even in life: To tie the knot – one of the fundamental meanings of life (so we are told but to each their own blessed way) is to get hitched (a hitch is a stitch.)

What are Warp and Weft?

They are the two basic components used in weaving to turn thread or yarn (sheep wool being the most common, sheared, skirted, nibs removed, washed, carded, made into bats, and then spun) into the fabric for clothing (how Biblical…no longer naked in The Garden of Eden). The length/longitudinal warp yarns are held stationary in tension on a frame or loom while the transverse/horizontal weft is drawn through – over and under the warp. 

How Does Fabric/Weaving Relate to Poetry/Writing

Yes, experimental pushes further (but further than what? What predetermined rules/vantage-point and predetermined by whom?

And, yes, the avant-garde does break literary rules to unveil the puppet master…But what do these have in common…RULES, a basic set of commonly agreed fundamental patterns for writing and communicating a meaning (or, in the sake of the avant-garde to dislodge that pre-set meaning to enable independent thinking.)

Knitting and crochet are only made possible by the creation of a fibre, a strand of wool/yarn spun into a ball of potential – waiting for a vision to become a Thing.

When we understand the rules we can then play with them, we can show off the weft, we can dye the warp, we can use a circular loom, we can spin plastic into a ball of plastic yarn, we can follow patterns only to then keep going into a new space…beyond the pattern.

I have been looking for a way into the arts my whole existence. I blogged, interviewed writers, became a teacher (as I was told that was arty…it’s so not), did courses in Computer Science, and Hypnotherapy to understand how meaning is used, and finally, I gave up and found poetry. Avant-garde poetry. Or to be more politically correct Post-Avant poetry. I then found my voice through visual poetry, mark-making, and oil on canvas resulting in digital mixed media, and now I see the whole tapestry for what it is, wash and what it can become. Learn the rules and then unpick them.

I must go back to my loom, weaving is my way of slow art. Beir Bua Press sells books via 35,000 online sellers, we launch online, we have a huge following online, the books are mass-produced and now I need to do something with my hands, that is one of a kind, for me (maybe for future book covers for Beir Bua) but most importantly that takes an enjoyable amount of time.

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