An Experiment in Poetry (A Cut-up)

What can be made of a poem which solely uses the last lines of other poems? Today’s dVerse challenge prompts us to construct just such a poem (or hodge podge or call it what you will) and I was curious what would follow. So I used the last lines of the first twelve poems in Margaret Atwood’s latest book of poetry, Dearly, (without alteration, only enjambment and lower-case) and this is what I got. Make of it what you will, but it goes to show that there is a resonance in words that builds on the generosity of a poem’s ambiguity and particularly the reader’s generosity as well. And such a cut-up technique plays on that to more or less affect.

Dear Reader, you decide.

An Experiment in Poetry (with apologies to Margaret Atwood)


not quite
cursed if she smiles or cries

the candle guttering down
I’ll give dry light

turn the key. Bar the window
let there be plot

why can’t I let her go?
isn’t it pretty, back there?

as Heaven always is,
if you read the texts closely

remember me
sing: On

46 thoughts on “An Experiment in Poetry (A Cut-up)

  1. You’ve done an admirable job, Dora my friend. I have to say, the very idea of Frankensteining 12 of my poems that I put my heart and soul into for the sake of a prompt turned my stomach so I skipped it. You found a way around it. Seal Team 7 wants you to know that they admire your ingenuity.

    –Shay, curmudgeon at large

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe a few of those poems dealt with just such a loss and Atwood, great writer that she is, can hone her emotions to a point in her apparently “simple” lines.


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