Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Write through of "Rule Britannia"


Why picture loutish
eton craic
a fab lush brogue
patriotic anoraks,
and pride deserting
gentlemen at war
in eccentric sighs?

I slip bowless to
a sir free land
no snoot cockers
great knobs to hail,
cut the tie today
for a happiness few
aim high
ask fate Howayiz
wah wah
is yiz


This draft poem is an example of the "write-through" form, which is where the writer takes an existing piece, technically called in poetic circles, a - "found text" - and re-configures it to another one, using the same words and/or letters.

This is the original text, titled "Rule Britannia":

Out of the bus window I spy a white-haired gentleman on a bicycle wearing a pair of brown brogues, with white socks, khaki desert shorts, an anorak and a black bowler hat. He is a picture of English eccentricity as he whizzes past County Hall and I feel a surge of patriotic pride at the sight of him.


The woman who composed it is an ex-teacher, now pole dancer, from Kent, who keeps two blogs and writes under the nom de guerre of Glamour Puss. The found piece is from a blog called Clairvoyance, which she started in August of this year, 15 months after beginning her main blog The Pole Affair. The Pole Affair deals with her day to day work and personal life, whilst Clairvoyance (19c French, literally 'clear seeing'), is her ruminating a tad deeper about existence, what she writes as:

"Elucidating Everyday Wonder Made Manifest"


I first came across her several months back in the comment section of Kate Evans Bush, who blogs as Ms Baroque in Hackney. Glammy has an honesty and eloquence to her writing i suspect few pole dancers have. After 15 months of blogging about her work and private life, Puss, as she calls herself, posted a piece on Friday which effortlessly articulates, for even the most amateur armchair shrink to discern, the human reasons behind her decision to bin off teaching and twirl round a pole in next to nowt for a nine to five. She switched careers in the immediate aftermath of a disastrous relationship with an unsuitable man who treated her shabbily.


The write through form is at the opposite end of the compositional spectrum from strict metrical writing, but at least, if not more intellectually challenging, as it is like sieving ones mind through a tea strainer; knocking down an edifice of letters, and rebuilding an entirely different text with them.

No one told me of this form, as my first time creating in it was three years ago when i was in the third and final year of writing school, working on a poem, when my eye came to fall on Ted Hughes book, Lupercal, resting on top of Sylvia Plath's collection, The Colossus.

The poem i was working on i had just written and it struck me to re-write it, using the same words, and the creative flow was such that i ended up writing through Sylvia Plaths title poem from The Colossus, about the relationship with her father. At this point i only used the same words and broke down a few conjoining ones into their constituent letters, but in the few short years that have followed, have found that short pieces such as this, are ideal to take this exercise to the next stage.

It is a great exercise for homing ones intellectual fluidity, as i don't have to think of anything apart from the letters i have to play with, and i will post the Plath poem and write through tomorrow, and will probably be on this form for the next while, as i have run out of stuff to research, as the stuff i wanted to finds out about when i left university three years ago, i have done so, and am wondering..what next, as Plato said to Yeats when the coat hanger rapped in his noggin..

1 comment:

Shaant said...

Go Ireland, mate.
I luff how the archives look.
it's like a wave. =D
Nice. =]