Thursday, September 20, 2012

Altered Text Poetry

Several years ago, I came across Tom Phillips' A Humument, and instantly fell in love. The way he transformed a random book into a completely different piece of art is incredible. And inspiring.  I have bought several books with the intent of emulating Phillips, but an entire novel seems daunting, so I have started creating altered text ATCs*-much more manageable.  I don't make them very often, part of me almost feels like I am cheating somehow, but I really enjoy the process when I do sit down to make them.

Here are two of my favorites:

 Out of the smoke
She returned to herself
but she was altered
morning and night
by the relentless question:

Shadows kidnap her,
his one pale eye
memorizing the brief moment
The raven recognized it.

As stand-alone poems they need some work, but as miniature artsy pieces, I think they are pretty good. Sometimes, when I am having trouble focusing on what I want to write I will work on this type of thing. Like I mentioned above, I kind of feel like I am cheating when I create these; I'd love to get some other opinions on the matter, if anyone would care to chime in-even to agree that it is cheating.

*ATC=Artist Trading Card, a 2.5 x3.5 piece of art. I first found out about these when I used to participate in swaps on Swap-Bot. That's another item on my "get-back-into-eventually list"' it's a very long list!


  1. Well, I learned something new today! I haven't heard of this before, but I think it's a great tool for children to learn writing and language arts! I am going to do this with my DD. What a great way to look at words and how they fit together to make a whole new story. This is wonderful, Rachel!

  2. I hadn't heard of this author or technique before now. It's fun how it combines both writing and art into one project. I like what you did with both of your pieces above and I'm glad you shared them :)


  3. I LOVE this! Adding it to my list. The ATC is much more accessible. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. I have never done ATC's, but love yours. Love the use of the text underneath and how you picked portions of it as the sentiment. I am loving the Raven one with Halloween around the corner. I love the fun use of color in the first one. I may have to give these a try! Thanks for inspiring me to try something new!