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type III // tender buttons poems + initial exploration

type III // tender buttons poems + initial exploration
September 2, 2013 nick howland

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To say poetry confuses me would be an understatement. I’ve never been one to fully dive into the world of poetry. I’ve dabbled and stuck my feet in the water, but I’ve never put more than just the toe in. In saying this, I can wholeheartedly say that this project will indeed be a challenge for me. It’s a good think I like challenges.

After reading through Tender Buttons, the Food section captured my attention more than any of the other poems. Upon reading it the first time, I couldn’t help but think of consumerist culture and the biological breakdown of object–the decay of certain cultural aspects.The poems I chose for my anthology were: Sugar, Milk, Eggs, Apple, Lunch, Rhubarb, Cake, Custard, Asparagus, Butter, Vegetable, and Chicken.

I set aside the poems for a bit and picked them back up to be viewed with new eyes. After reading through it a few more times, I began to realize (more so) that the poetry wasn’t about the words or what the arrangement of those words should logically mean. It is about the rhythm and verse of it all. The repetition. Repetition was very apparent to me and I feel like it fits in with the “consumerist” theme I had previously established. The repetition of certain words (sometimes many words within a single poem) made me think of people grabbing up things in a supermarket and hoarding items for themselves; the “more more more” attitude. Repetition / multiplication / excess seemed to stick with me.

So for the basic first stages of typographic experimentation, I began to play around with duplication of text, decay and manipulation of text through a lens, and the fidelity / decay of text when scanned in and blown up. The scanning exercise didn’t have the effect I wanted, but it pointed me in another direction: I plan on printing items on a transparency so that, when I scan it and zoom in closely, you can see the inky halftone that is only visible at a high scan. Part of the process was reading the poems out-loud and seeing how the words flowed off the tongue. this helped be found verbal breaks in the structure as well as find a sense of speed throughout the poems. Some of these findings can be found in the notes included in this post.

I’ll keep pushing my findings and see what happens.

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