Poetic Operations


When Quarantine started I began reading Ovid’s Metamorphoses in that the bathtub (the Mandelbaum translation). Then i started putting the videos on instagram. This was not me being sexy. I mean I am a middle aged mother of two after all. I was just combining reading, with bathing, with performance… something for pleasure during the apocalypse I had no plan.

Then I thought Ovid …. Covid. Then I thought about found texts, cut ups and mash ups, and then I thought about erasure poems.

What is an erasure poem? It is a poem where you remove words from a text to create a new poem. An excellent erasure poem that I return to is R E D, an erasure of Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Chase Berggrun.

That painting above I consider an erasure. Here is the original one:

Painting is unique in that this painting that I erased no longer exists, where as the original text of Dracula, erased with R E D, still exists. That is why I love painting… there can be only one.

But like I said an erasure is one of many different operations that one can perform on a text. Others being mashups or cut ups. I have Paul Griffiths’ let me tell you here as well. It is a book that is written from the POV of Hamlet’s Ophelia with the words that Ophelia speaks in Hamlet. I hope the word “rue” is there, because it is a special plant to me. I also found a very beautiful choral piece adapted from the book:

More on poetic operations, I am reading Kathy Acker’s Don Quixote, and i have no idea what the operations are that she uses, but I know they are there. This may be an example of quantum operations or operations beyond the algorithmic operations of the erasure. Here is a good essay on Acker’s process.

So back to my Ovid in the Bathtub. This is a very neptunian exercise, transformation through dream and deception. Metamorphoses is a collection of tales about violence towards women, so it even more strongly echos R E D. I am talking above about processes not about the product. Although the works themselves are fantastic, my favorite is Acker, I cannot separate the process from the product. It is all of a piece for me. The score and the performance of the score.

So Back to Ovid in the bathtub. I propose a poetic operation work based on The Metamorphosis of Ovid


her C(ovid)

Table of Contents:

Book 1: Roo

Book 2: C(arcas)

Book 3: Narc

Book 4: Vulna

Book 5: Proton

Book 6: Psyops

Book 7: Plague

Book 8: Le()d

Book 9: Anus

Book 10: Fate

Book 11: Death

Book 12: Eros

Book 13: Ulysses

Book 14: Mona

Book 15: Cages

It will probably change. I sort of want to create a grammar for this. Something involving () as you can see. That is a very programmer thing to do. It is because I am inspired by LISP, and really Scheme.

Leave a Reply