Risa devised a really neat composting practice she’ll summarize below. But first one of the poems resultant:
Water the piece I
visit. Such that I
could be alone. I
want to develop
the thought of you
before I start.
You were the same this
time. None of those
before. Each decade
they drive me to
One thing I really like here is how each sentence or fragment feels both a great distance from, and intimately bound up in, its neighbours. That a poem can be both fragmentary and whole (see, for instance, Creeley’s Pieces). And the fierce enjambments enact the same paradox line-by-line — each line both broken and intact. And the process by which the poem was generated is remarkably close to invisible.
Risa’s account of the process, with some abridgement:
Choose a word you’d like to end your poem or paragraph with. Google search the word (for example, “murder”). Scroll to the end of the first page of results and find the last substantive word in the last search result (for example, “decades”). Note that word down (so you now have a list with two words on it, in our example “murder” and “decades”). Repeat the process, using the second word as your search term, and adding your third word to the list (for example, “each”). Continue until you have around 15 words or get bored. Then compose a poem that uses each word, either in the order they were found in, or in the reverse order (as in our example).
The words Risa used to compose “Murder” are boldfaced above.