DIY - "Schlessman Library Installation"
100 Poplar | First Prompt: Found text. Found text is the taking of words or phrases from an outside source (bus advertisement) and reframing them into your story or poem to impart new meaning to them. A similar technique in literature is found dialogue; and in visual art, the found object. We’re going to use texts that happen to be available in our immediate surroundings—the grounds of Schlessman Library—to write a scene. Walk the library. Collect examples of text you come across that you find interesting in some way. This can be from a community board, a magazine, a bathroom stall, a book jacket. If you decide to go outside, please be careful of parking lot traffic. Once you have written down 3-5 found texts, come back to the classroom and use one or more to write a brief scene or poem. The scene can be based on a current project of yours, or be completely new. A fun restriction might be to use three of your found texts as the first, middle, and final lines of the piece.
Bonus: Enjoy this process? Look up the following forms that employ found text in their creation: collage, readymade, and the erasure or black out poem.
100 Poplar | Second Prompt: Epistolary. Epistolary simply defined means “in the form of a letter or letters.” But the epistolary can also include diary entries, newspaper clippings, telegrams, doctor notes, ship’s logs, postcards, and recordings such as radio interviews, blogs, and emails. Take one of the Write Denver postcards and go back into the library. Choose an object and write a short epistolary letter addressed to it. Install the writing in, on, or around this object. If you have your phone with you, feel free to take a photo of the newly installed writing and send it off into the social media world using #writedenver. If you want, you can incorporate a found text(s) into your letter. Here are some examples of possible first lines:
--Dear Library Keyboard --Dear Mary Oliver
--Dear Moby Dick Chapter 28 --Dear Photocopier
--Dear Coke Machine --Dear Schlessman Library
Takeaways: 1) Why did you install your writing where you did? 2) Some of us are using found texts to create epistolary works to be experienced by random strangers as found texts. 3) Lifespan of the installations and its evolution.
Further reading: Annie Proulx’s Postcards, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.