Sunday, August 9, 2009

Why Do I Write ~ Andrew Demcak

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Andrew Demcak




As Joan Didion says “In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying: listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its aggressiveness all you want with veils of subordinate clauses and qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions, with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating but there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the readers most private space.”

All of my poems are "cut-ups" of poems which originally appeared either in The New Yorker, Poetry, or in Sylvia Plath’s various books. This very act of “cutting” is a violent reclamation of language. I use a variation of the "cut-up" method pioneered in the 1920's by both the DADA and Surrealist movements, refined in the late 1950's by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gyson. I have further augmented it, moving the praxis farther from the creation of non-objectivist "collages" and into what I can only describe as a way of facilitating textual "mutations." I edit the meanings of the poems as they evolve from the various permutations of word fragments. I further edit for syllabic line length and maximum syllabic line total, while playing around with various rhyme schemes, making the end product a hybrid of traditional English blank verse and French lyric and metrical/formulaic syllabics, e.g. OULIPO methods. In my “how” is my “why.”

6 comments:

Emily said...

Cut-it-out! (I'm miming scissors a la Uncle Joey as I write this...)

W.F. said...

You could say his poems are a . . . wait for it . . . CUT above the rest.

Emily said...

No, no... you definitely couldn't.

Andrew Demcak, Poet said...

I wasn't expecting every comment to be so "snippy..."

W.F. said...

We are speaking out of shear love.

Does this mean we can't run with your poems?

Dustin Brookshire said...

Andrew-- I don't think Emily meant any sassy with her comment. She knew that a Project Verse update was coming, so I think her comment was directed toward me.