Hoy comparto con ustedes el último ensayo que tuve que escribir para el Modpo, el curso de poesía estadounidense moderna y contemporánea que estuve haciendo este año. Para el último ensayo teníamos dos opciones. La primera consistía en elaborar un mesóstico y analizarlo y la segunda opción, en elegir algunas de las propuestas experimentales que propone Bernadette Mayer, llevarla a cabo y analizar el resultado. Yo elegí la opción A. Nunca había escuchado hablar de los mesósticos. Como me imagino que ustedes tampoco, les cuento de qué se trata. Un mesóstico es similar a un acróstico y es un conjunto variable de letras de tamaños y tipografías diferentes que se distribuyen alrededor de una palabra o frase escrita en una fila vertical. Para realizar el mesóstico usé el "Mesostomatic" que es una página de internet donde se generan estos poemas. Elegí Emily Dickinson como columna vertebral del mesóstico y como texto fuente de donde se extrajeron las palabras, tres poemas de esta poeta estadounidense. Luego tuve que escribir el ensayo, donde analicé el mesóstico. Resultó ser el más difícil de todos los ensayos que tuve que escribir para el Modpo, ya que acá no podía tomar como base otros análisis previos. Sin embargo, fue el ensayo que mejores comentarios recibió. A continuación les dejo las consignas del trabajo, mi mesóstico y el ensayo.
Option A: The Mesostomatic (based on John Cage's Mesostics)
Visit the "Mesostomatic" here. First, choose a word or phrase to enter into the field marked "Make a mesostic using the spine." Then, insert into the "textual data" field either a URL (web address) for one of the poems we've read in ModPo or the URL of another poem that interests you. Alternately, you may enter the text of a poem in the box marked "Or paste text here." Finally, select any number of mesostics you want to produce, and then hit the button marked "mesostomize." Using the Mesostomatic, you will be "writing through" the poem you selected for your textual data field.
Then, in a short essay of approximately 500 words, describe, explain, closely read and/or "interpret" the results of your mesostic.
Please note: The "Mesostomatic" can be a little buggy. Try several times to make your mesostic. If the program doesn't work well for you, we urge you to try option B.
Option B: Bernadette Mayer Experiment
First, write in response to the following prompt from Bernadette Mayer's list of writing experiments. (Please note that we've slightly revised the wording from Mayer's list of experiments; you can find the complete list here.)
Systematically eliminate the use of certain kinds of words or phrases from a piece of writing: for example, eliminate all adjectives from a poem of your own or another poem, for example a poem in our course; or take out all words beginning with 's' in one or several of Shakespeare's sonnets or any poem or poems from our course.
After you have completed your experiment, write a short essay of approximately 500 words that describes, explains, closely reads and/or "interprets" the results.
A Dickinsonian Mesostic
In order to make a mesostic, I chose Emily Dickinson as the spine of the poem because she is one of my favourite poets. As textual data, I chose three of her poems: “I dwell in Possibility”, “I never saw a Moor”and, “I taste a liquor never brewed”. This is my mesostic:
This mesostic starts with the word “dwell”, which belongs to the poem “I dwell in Possibility”, a metapoetic poem in which Emily Dickinson tells us that she prefers poetry to prose. “Paradise” starts with the letter “P” like “Possibility”, which is the word that Dickinson chooses to rename poetry. I have read that Emily Dickinson spent her last years of life in her house and that when she died, her family discovered a lot of poems in her bedroom. So, I think that for her, living surrounded by poems must have been like living in a paradise, as she was so fond of poetry.
Then, we can read that her “paradise looks yet brewed in such drunken butterflies”. This part of the mesostic is full of words from her poem “I taste a liquor never brewed”. In this poem, Dickinson was intoxicated by life and nature although there are many people who consider this poem to be metapoetic. They think that Dickinson was intoxicated by poetry. Butterflies are creatures that drinks nectar and they fly all the time. They seem to be intoxicated by life and nature like Dickinson. If we think metapoetically, we can relate the drunken butterflies to people intoxicated by poetry, such as poets or poetry lovers.
In the last part of the mesostic we find two phrases: “renounce drams” and “more swing”. A dram is a small amount of an alcohol drink. Does this mesostic want us to give up alcohol? If we think about this phrase from the metapoetic point of view, should we give up reading poems? The final phrase, “more swing” can be interpreted in different ways. I looked up “swing” in the dictionary and has numerous meanings. The sixth meaning caught my attention: freedom of action. This made me remember the poem “I dwell in possibility”, in which Emily Dickinson says that poetry has more possibilities than prose. It seems that the mesostic is trying to tell us that we should live more freely. The fifth meaning is also interesting: a shift from one attitude, position, or condition to another. Maybe we should make some changes in our life. However, the tenth meaning is totally different: the normal rhythm of life or pace of activities. Do we have to go on with our daily routine without making changes?
In my opinion, this mesostic can be interpreted in different ways. I think that each reader will find different things in it. I really enjoyed doing this fourth assignment because it was amusing although the first time I read the mesostic I couldn´t understand its meaning. It was a big challenge for me to write this interpretation.