amongst books

amongst books

Monday, April 04, 2016

IMPROMPTU #4: a short talk on hands

Woody Leslie’s prompt for today was to construct wordblocks. Wordblocks are “single-word-stand-ins that express multiple meanings or an ambiguity of meanings”. While I was reading his description and looking at the examples, I was struck by the idea of the word as entity and object, once again as something visual. I knew I wanted to do something hand-made, so I thought of the word “hand” and wrote up everything I could think of relating to it. Because I have a tendency to think of sound first over meaning, I thought of words and, ampersand before anything else, but other hand-related words quickly spring to mind (or hand).


Once at a poetry reading in Ottawa, at the Factory Reading Series, the wonderful Kate Greenstreet signed her book “Young Tambling” (Ahsahta Press, 2013) by tracing her right hand to complement the left hand that is printed on the inside front of the book.  I remarked that our hands were similar in shape and size. I liked that. I feel an affinity for her writing and for her personality, even her life. Both of us have loving and supportive husbands (Max-hers; Charles-mine), both of us work in various media, and from her work, I feel as if she is also driven by Duende.

At dear friends’ wedding a few years ago, I was delighted to witness their hand-fasting ceremony. It was a sunny day by the river. They shone with love as their hands were tied together with ribbon and thus their lives. Yes, I felt tears in my eyes.

In 2013, I had a visual poetry series published in Plain Brown Wrapper. It was entitled “the alphabet of Vivian Bloodmark – an homage to the synaesthesia of Vladimir Nabokov” and it involved my cutting out letters with my clumsy, unco-ordinated hands and then painting the letters.


today I have let the prompt lead to something a little different than intended. I have taken poetic licence and borrowed Anne Carson’s short talk idea sort of. Poetry or any kind of art is a kind of handing down or over or across from one person to another, from the past to the present to the future. I put my work and others work in the hands of others, hoping that something will inspire their own creative activity.

Here I stand 15.25 hands high, actually I’m seated at my desk, my fingers clickety clacketing over the keyboard, pausing to take a glimpse of my aging hands, the swollen knuckles, the writer’s lump from holding a pen or pencil, the ink marks, the long life line…all being well…

Thanks to Woody Leslie for the great prompt.

Play along!

For those of you who are just joining us, The Found Poetry Review is celebrating National Poetry Month by offering daily experimental writing prompts from writers. I will be responding to them at poetic whim.

2 comments:

Marilyn B said...

Really, really, clever, Amanda.

Amanda Earl said...

thanks, Marilyn!