‘a laboratory for metrics’

mephis chose to use his 10 points for a prize, so he is back to zero! (didnt see that one coming didya) LETS NOT LET HIM REGAIN THE LEAD! oh yeah, new title up and running —


the discussion of villa and stein continues 2 posts down…check it out and feel free to comment…



earlier, barbara mentioned villa’s method of lineating prose, what villa termed “the Adaptations”. and guess what, he also wrote a preface for these poems (dont look so surprised;). He says,

“[the Adaptations] are experiments in the conversion of prose, through technical manipulation, into poems with line movement, focus and shape, as against loose verse […] These adaptations apring from a diversity of sources: from published letter, journals, notebooks […] magazine items and captions, letters to the editor, newspaper editorials, book reviews, even advertisements […]

in the interests of poetry and to achieve the tightness of verse, I have in some cases excised words (usually connectives or extra adjective) or even whole phrases or clauses if inessential to my purpose. Punctuation has been altered to suit the movement of verse […]

In connection with this experiment of converting prose into poetry, William Carlos Williams has something pertinent to say in his Selected Letters. ‘Prose can be a laboratory for metrics. It is lower in the literary scale, but it throws up jewels which may be cleaned and grouped.’ This expresses very well what i tried to do.”



the poems aren’t as boring as they sound. they really depend on their source material…there are a few poems from Rilke’s letters and they are PAINFUL … there are a few poems from Simone Weil’s Notebooks which are much more engaging. it does seem like a great method to train one’s ear – especially since you don’t have to worry about content (actually this seems like a great workshop exercise!).

anyways, what do people think of this method? is it cheating?


5 thoughts on “‘a laboratory for metrics’

  1. yep you got it! there’s actually a great used bookstore in winesburg (hee hee yeah right!) i’m a bit giddy cause the A’s just WON!!!! bring on the…tigers?

  2. I’m going to retire at the height of my career… at the top of my game, while I can still float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, I ain’t no Frazier…

  3. It’s cheating the same way dubbing is cheating.

    I couldn’t write a poem to save my life right now, but one of the mostest fun things is when poetics comes bubbling through my prose. Those are good days.

  4. mephis, everytime you think you’re out, they keep pulling you back in.

    ah yes, the good days. hey forrest, who is da popa?

    dubbing is a great comparison!

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