dis•articulations 2017, an interactive and collaborative poetry project by Terry Wolverton.
Welcome to dis•articulations 2017. Each month throughout the year, I will invite a different Los Angeles poet to collaborate on new poems, using a specific process: Each of us will find four prompts drawn from the media (print, broadcast or social), and exchange them. The collaborator and I will conduct fevered writing on each prompt, then exchange that writing. Each of us will create a new poem using the words given to them by the other. Making a poem with words other than those you would have chosen creates great freedom. It also heightens your sensitivity about the words you use and those you don’t.
Prompts, fevered writing, and the eventual poems will be posted to this page. I will also be inviting readers to write their own poem inspired by the prompts or the fevered writing and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. All poems received will be posted. The best poem received each month will win a $25 prize. Be sure to include your name and mailing address with your submission.
At the end of the month, the collaborating poet will offer a reflection on their experience of working with the process. I am so grateful for Janice Lee and Entropy magazine for hosting this project.
ABOUT FEVERED WRITING
This writing exercise was taught to me by Deena Metzger, who described it as “writing faster than you can think.” A similar process is described by Natalie Goldberg, who calls it “writing meditation.” The term “fevered writing” was coined by a former student, poet Yvette Beltran.
This exercise asks you to write without thinking first about what will come out of you. You put the pen on the page, set the timer (for 3 minutes, or 5 minutes) and go. The goal is to keep the pen moving without stopping to think. It’s great to work from a prompt, the more nonsensical or the more unlike things you think about in your daily life, the better. You can use the prompts posted here, or you can pull a few words out of a book. Don’t over-determine it. The prompt is not your topic; it just provides a few words you can then bounce off (think of it as your trampoline.)
Let go of any need to make sense, spell correctly, stick to any kind of subject, or write in complete sentences. Let the words pour through and surprise you as they manifest on the page. The idea is to bypass the linear brain and access the creative brain. If you are writing on lined paper, turn the page sideways so you can’t write in the lines. You can use this exercise in several ways: 1) use it as a warm-up exercise to blow the crust off your mind and begin to access a more imaginative voice; 2) go back into what you’ve written and pull out a phrase or line that resonates for you and use that as the beginning of a new piece of writing; 3) do several rounds of fevered writing and see how you might begin to connect them in a new piece of writing; 4) disarticulate several rounds of fevered writing and use it as a lexicon to write a new poem, as I and my collaborators will be doing in this project. Enjoy!