Tuesday, June 21, 2005
TURNING AD COPY INTO POEMS
I'm reprinting below a post from The Chatelaine's Poetics that describes my newest poems. What that post doesn't say is that all the poems in this new series, "Post Bling Bling," were also written a la "first draft, last draft."
"POST BLING BLING"--
WHAT EXACTLY IS MEANING WITHOUT CONTEXT?
As I'm currently engaged in THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF COMMODITIES (which requires me in part to blog my daily shopping lists), I -- with no conscious intention on my part -- got tipped by the Muse to explore a not-exactly new theme to me and some other word-lovers, said theme as referenced in this epigraph to my latest poetry series "Post Bling Bling":
In a global, capitalistic culture logotypes exist (Nike, McDonalds, Red Cross) which are recognizable by almost all of the planet´s inhabitants. Their meanings and connotations are familiar to more people than any other proper noun of any given language. This phenomenon has caused some artists to reflect on the semiotic content of the words they use, (for example, in the names of perfumes) and isolate them, stripping them down to their pure advertising content. Words are no longer associated with a product, package or price, and go back to their original meaning or to a new one created by the artist.
--from Galeria Helga de Alvear's exhibition statement for 'Ads, Logos and Videotapes' (Estudio Helga de Alvear) Nov 16 - Jan 13, 2001
Or, from the same exhibition press release:
An urban inhabitant receives between 600 and 800 impacts from advertising per day. In the street: on billboards, shopping bags, in signs on buildings and vehicles. In private: through logotypes, advertisements in magazines and on television. All are different, yet with clear unifying factors: they contain attractive images, faces of supermodels; imperative messages which are easily retained. The artists who take part in this exhibit are aware of the significance of this reality, and, as a consequence, isolate it to a point where it becomes obvious in an atmosphere which is traditionally free from this type of interferences: the Art Gallery....
....except that the Art Gallery here is the poetry collection.
So I ask the question but don't answer how exactly a word is supposed to mean absent context. Well, that is, I answer with poems which are the most matter-of-fact that I've noticed myself ever writing. Here's an example, a prose poem that's comprised of the text for a Lexus advertisement; my only contributions are the poem's title and the line breaks as the original advertising text was one paragraph.
WELCOME TO THE LUXURY HYBRID
It's not just the debut of a new car, but of a new category.
Lexus engineers have combined the attributes of a luxury sedan with the remarkable fuel economy and low emissions that only hybrid technology can provide.
The result is a vehicle that offers you the best of both, without asking you to sacrifice anything.
A V6 engine delivers the power of a V8 while producing only a fraction of the emissions associated with a standard SUV.
Yet this hybrid is also every inch a Lexus, sparing nothing in the way of your comforts and conveniences.
Making it what may indeed be the first vehicle of its kind.
One that treats you, and the world you live in, with equal respect.
Here's another example from the series; again, the poem simply quotes the advertisement text:
Robert De Niro