Creating a Redactive Poem

In the last post we shared what a Redactive Poem is, now let’s take a look at how they are created. Making a Redactive Poem starts with collage.

The stack of sourced collage materials.

When sourcing through magazines for collage material, I am keeping an eye out for unique text/articles which can be used effectively. I think of this as a side benefit to all that work I put into finding collage material. I usually end up with a modest pile of text/articles by the end of it all. From there I grab a fresh marker (purchased in bulk, of course) and get to work.

At this point I do the single hardest thing I do as an artist — redact. I usually pour a stiff drink and listen to some relaxing instrumental music, because the work can be seriously stressful. Most of the text I work from isn’t very well written, the authors move around in tense and perspective an astonishing number of times given the limited amount of words. Furthermore there are usually several different compositions to start with — and many more ways to word each composition. It can take 30 minutes or more to decide on the text.

Concentration required for this work.

Keeping track of all these variations in my head is what makes the job so difficult. Sometimes I even write the compositions down to keep track of them because once I put marker to the page there is no turning back. Even with all this time and energy — I still mess up about 10% of the all the Redactive Poems I attempt. Don’t ask me why, but I constantly cross out a word I didn’t mean to — or go one word too far, or even just get sloppy with the marker. All those pieces get crumpled up and recycled.

Once a piece is finished I store it on a special shelf to be digitized for printing and archived to avoid getting ruined.

View and shop the entire Redactive Poetry Collection.

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