Collage, Making the Cut, Cutting Up

Tristan Tzara, Dadaist poet,  famously advocated a “cut-up” method of composition, involving cutting out words from a newspaper and drawing them randomly from a hat to create a poem. Collage in language-based work can now mean any composition that includes words, phrases, or sections of outside source material in juxtaposition. With immigration, the feeling of living inside a collage –of experiences, of languages, of places, becomes a new looking glass…Those who have lived half of our lives in one place and the other half in another as it is in my case, see the many sides of life simultaneously, as if looking at one of Picasso’s many portraits of Dora Maar… from the inside, looking at those looking at us. That is why, when faced with a rejection letter from a poem I had submitted about living on Treaty Six, instead of getting mad, I just wrote a collage poem…

The verses in Italics belong to the actual rejection letter and now have become part of the poem. 010portrait-de-dora-maar1-640x480

I hope you can see the many sides of living here, in Edmonton, On Treaty Six:

 

“The poem itself is very powerful and empathetic and I love the style and rhythm of it but at this point I cannot move forward on it but perhaps this has started some important internal conversations that need to happen moving forward with our magazine.” 

On Treaty Six

Y es sólo entonces cuando están muertos, cuando están vestidos que la ciudad los recupera hipócrita y les impone los deberes cotidianos. Los amantes, Julio Cortázar.

On Treaty Six

We kiss

We touch

We touch

We touch

like trees

We kiss

our shadows

We enter

our wounds

 

This was a tough decision, I think

in this current situation that it is hard

for us to accept a poem

that uses such a strong “we” throughout

We embrace

like trees

We lick

our sweetness

We lick

our cold lips

We spit

our sorrows

when we don’t know what

the artist’s connection

to this important part of the city of Edmonton

and also this much larger conversation about reconciliation is.

We swim

inwards

We touch

like streams

WE EMBRACE

We kiss

our wounds

We kiss

our wounds

We kiss

our wounds

We kiss

our wounds

We shower

like trees

We leave

our joy

Here

since the editors are two white men

I just don’t feel comfortable moving forward at this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Replies to “Collage, Making the Cut, Cutting Up”

  1. Oh my! Very interesting and disturbing. Reminds me of some work I am meaning to do but have only brainstormed alone. A better version of the recognition statement that I hear opening many events here on Treaty Six territory, is needed. What I hear is usually from point of view of settler and seems to be presuming that those present are all settlers, by using ‘we’ and then language that indicates the indigenous people are ‘they’. This language promotes the opposition of ‘us and them’, and sidedness. I want to hear a more inclusive statement, which works no matter who is speaking or listening.

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    1. Yes, Becky, there are as many layers to this post -and poem as readers and inhabitants of Treaty Six. The “we” in and of itself proves this little social experiment-poem, needs to exist in the public realm so that all the voices of Treaty Six can be equally heard…Also, please note, that it only AFTER the editor highlights the issue of the “we” of the poem, it becomes, according to you, “disturbing” which I think it speaks more about exposing the “white man”s guilt, and also their need to be perceived only as allies, avoiding at all times to first of all, include as allies others –such as female immigrant minorities, and erase the colonial baggage that comes with –literally, the territory. The poem in its actual incarnation exposes the white male’s inability to fully acknowledge the historical legacy of the ‘white man’s burden’ and the accompanying “white fragility,” that aspect of self-censoring of minorities for the sake of not offending ‘white sensibilities,’ making all literary creations about their white selves.

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