Friday, November 7, 2014

ISBN 0-684-83533-9 / "A Piece of Work"

I9 Virgil

0 It was early November and Columbia's leaves were just about gone.
6 For here was an official poem
8 He turned to Homer, Educated Romans, Professor Taylor
4 Dido welcomes the lordly
8 His words remained with her to haunt her
3 Collapsing time and
5 Enthralled by him, the image
3 ("Can our love
3 Came home to
9 I had walked around campus shivering in a tweed


This experimental process uses a selected book's ISBN Number, and a system of alphanumeric code-keys to glean titles and lines to produce new poems from an existing work.

Chapters 9, 19, 2, and 14 only are used as these correspond to the letters: I-S-B-N. The use of chapter titles is optional. Because 0 cannot be represented as a letter in English, the entire first sentence of a chapter is transcribed verbatim and becomes the first line of a stanza. Subsequent lines are selected and shortened equal to the word length of their corresponding digit in the selected book's ISBN number. Thus, the line whose initial letter corresponds to the numerical position of that letter in the English alphabet and is first to appear in its corresponding chapter becomes the second line of the stanza.  In the example above note that the number eight appears twice in the ISBN number and the number three thrice, in these cases the 1st, 2nd, and when necessary 3rd appearance, and so forth, of these letters at the start of a sentence, or following a colon, or semi-colon in its given chapter are used. Hyphens cannot be represented, and are treated as null characters to be totally ignored. If the selected book should have insufficient chapters (less than 19) the experimenter would have the option of:

a) selecting another book and using its ISBN number

b) devising another system, or

c) taking a brisk walk whilst meditating on the efficacy of the experiment.

The processor concedes that the accumulated verbiage garnered by following the preceding steps is to be regarded as a poem, if for no other reason than that a poem has yet to be defined satisfactorily by all notable authorities, living or dead. The processor, therefore, invites interested parties to examine the resulting poems with the object of disclosing any in- or external artistic merit, if any, by noting its:

a) revealed and/or hidden, or absent beauty, not limited to: its sound, shape, imagery, effect, creative process or other determinant, or

b) revealed and/or hidden meaning, if any, not limited to: purpose, value, intent, or unintent, malcontent, discontent, or modus existencia et operandi, or

c) other possible determinants for explication, evaluation, or poetic license revocation.


An interpretive reading follows:

By using late autumn as the time period, "It was early November and Columbia's leaves were just about gone," one can logically assume that a reputable urban Ivy League University is the setting for the poem. Further, that the school is in the Northeast Quadrant of the United States many years and many miles from the poem's center of interest: Western Civilization.

The line that proclaims, "For here was an official poem," implies that a poem that was produced in a place far removed from the current venue, which is somehow unofficial, superficial, or in someotherwise unworthy, is about to be examined.

With "He turned to Homer, Educated Romans, Professor Taylor," the line resorts to a pronounced and callous disregard for cultural diversity and a formulative strategy possibly meant to ostracize students of modernity and their protective Mythological structures which have been craftily preserved and safeguarded by institutions and authorities for purposes that invite closer inspection.

It must be noted that although "Dido welcomes the lordly," she soon appears to regret her decision and attempts to withdraw, by "Collapsing time and" apparently fails in the attempt because she has become "Enthralled by him, the image" of which has her questioning what could possibly transpire:

Somewhat anticlimactically asking, ("Can our love", and answering, "Came home to" an unresolved, wide open denouement.

The process server closed by stating that "I had walked around campus shivering in a tweed"--and then stopped short, at the exact moment that the Lights were Lit on Broadway.


[tk-S19 Montaigne tk-B2 Sappho tk-N14 Hobbes and Locke]

A Piece of Work was Processed by REKlektikos on 11/3/2014 Updated on 11/7/2014

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