IMPROMPTU #2: Collier Nogues

2 - napomo - 16 - nogues - site

NoguesMy second book of poems, The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground, is a hybrid of poetry and digital art about the Pacific War, and the poems are all erasures. Working on that project, I loved how erasure and digital technology made it possible for the poems’ contexts to be always present, a mouse-scroll or click away from the poems themselves.

I’m currently collaborating on a bilingual project with Mei Kwan Ng, a Hong Kong poet who writes in Chinese. We’re using erasure as a technique, though the resulting poems are not exactly erasures. We are starting with Hong Kong’s Basic Law (its constitution, roughly), but replacing most nouns with language from canonical Chinese poems. Our goal is to turn the very bureaucratic Basic Law into language which sings, and which is alert to the post-Umbrella Movement political context of Hong Kong. Our new poems’ borrowed syntax patterns are declarative and detached, and with the classically beautiful images, the poems have a feeling of almost prophetic authority. So, for example, this excerpt from the Basic Law:

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be a
local administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, which
shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy and come directly under
the Central People’s Government.

becomes

The white sun shall be the bright blanket of heaven, which shall
enjoy a high degree of sheltering the people spreading directly
over the hard road.

Prompt

This prompt is modeled after that project. You can start with any piece of junk mail or advertising, or any legal document or bureaucratic form (it’s tax time!). Choose a few sentences. Remove the nouns. Replace them with:

  • words from a poem you’ve abandoned
  • words from one or more poems you love (by anyone, yourself included)
  • any other source that works

From there, work what you’ve got into a poem. This prompt can be a throwaway prompt to generate a few lines, or it can become the engine for a situational poem, like the ones I’m writing with Mei Kwan. If something comes of it for you, I would love to know! Find me at noguescollier(at)gmail.com, or on Twitter at @colliernogues.


Collier Nogues is the author of The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground, selected by Forrest Gander as winner of the 2014 Drunken Boat Poetry Book Contest, and On the Other Side, Blue (Four Way, 2011). She lives in Hong Kong, where she is Lingnan University’s 2016 Writer-in-Residence and a PhD Fellow at the University of Hong Kong. She also curates Hong Kong’s English-language poetry craft talk series and edits poetry for Juked. 

45 Comments

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Mark Staniforth

    I like this prompt. Here’s my mash-up of a local pizza delivery menu, and the index of Regis Debray’s “Strategy for Revolution”: https://goo.gl/M9jpWq

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Misky

    An absolutely brilliant prompt. Thank you! Here’s mine, plus I’m playing a bit with the visuals today. https://thirtydayspoetry.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/day-2-the-vegan-matrix/

    • Reply April 2, 2016

      Amanda Earl

      this is hilarious, Misky. you could do a whole series of poems about aging vegetables!

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Amanda Earl

    Innocence of Paper Angels http://amandaearl.blogspot.ca/2016/04/impromptu-2-innocence-of-paper-angels.html

    thanks to Collier for this prompt, which was great fun.

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Margaret Watson

    flaphands as treesdie
    intimate silence
    when butterfliesstick
    in corollas

    repeatafter me
    drink upthewords
    twlilight lightlightlighlig li
    sky sky sky sky
    twilight sky

    SOLITUDE

    moonsfly through skeletons
    disappearas mysteries offlesh

    Anthropocene (tattooed on my shoulder)

    wherewind might carry voices firetherethesun

    jutterup your peakbogcotton toxicity
    overphotoprismic the city

    cajole spinasses or serrate a wordshattonstonker sentiment sentiment

    let me sleep…

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    m.a.scott

    Thank you to Collier for a wonderful prompt.

    I have taken a section from North Carolina House Bill #2 (regarding assigning restroom facilities based on ‘biological sex’) and reworked with language from Allen Ginsberg Footnote to Howl:

    Holy-body 2

    nothing holy but this
    the body’s eternal shepherd
    a madman everyman
    hallucinating kindness
    digging the mysterious human world
    or groaning eternity upon a tongue’s river of vast charity

    but in no asylum
    shall that kindness result
    in the madman everyman’s suffering
    in a tongue
    that drums a hideous human world
    that groans eternity
    voiced under holy-body b-bop of soul body
    in a skin other than the tongue’s ecstatic skin.

  • […] Susan Powers Bourne Sources: Vermont Statutes, Impromptu: Collier Nogues Process: Erasure mix and […]

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Wayne Berninger

    Patron Tequila / Whitman

    PRACTICE WITH ARITHMETIC MAKES A PATRON OF THE ARTS

    From harvesting the finest blues, spiritual
    love, to hand numbering every steel pen,
    it takes more than sixty communions of sorrow
    and joy to craft each old man’s bottle of whiskey,
    subpoena. This excessive avoidance.
    A certain balance of light and shade —
    may not sound efficient, but imperfection
    rarely is.

  • What an amazing project you have there!

  • Here is my attempt:http://spacedlaw.dreamwidth.org/151210.html
    The poetry I have used is from “Left Writing” by Rachel Green.

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    james w. moore

    here’s mine! i really enjoyed this one…a chance to merge junk mail with Arthur Rimbaud. http://bit.ly/1V0DiWx

  • […] P-A-D “He said/She said prompt” Adele Kenny’s “Color RED prompt” Found Poetry’s “Junk Mail/Gov’t forms Erasure prompt” 30dpc’s “New Beginnings prompt” Apparatus Mag’s “Ode to TV show […]

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Stephanie Ellis

    Two days running and still enjoying it. Second poem, Your Balance is Gone, is up at http://stephellis.weebly.com/

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    A. Garnett Weiss

    Thought for once I’d not take the task too seriously. Enjoyed the prompt. Here is the result.

    Drunktime is even more spectacular

    Whatever your potion
    it’s all here
    in the liquor cabinet
    packed with endless blends
    perfect proofs and an unrivalled flood
    of possibilities.
    There are so many drinks to discover
    everyday this way.

    Source: Ad for the Cayman Islands, The Globe and Mail, Section T, page 1, April 2, 2016)

    Original text: “Paradise is even more spectacular when it’s up to 50% off
    Whatever your passion, it’s all here in the Cayman Islands. Packed with endless activities, perfect beaches and an unrivalled culinary scene, there are so many reasons to discover Cayman this summer. “

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Bill Waters

    Hi, everyone! Following this prompt, I used IRS 1040 Instructions: Do I Have To File? as the base and Dante’s Inferno, Canto II as the source of nouns and noun phrases. I hope you enjoy it! :- D

    Do I Have to File?

    O lofty genius, O memory, use darkened air so bright
    with tears to see if you must file a chosen vessel.
    A friend of God’s grace who lived in Heaven or had income
    from polished words should see the Mountain of Delight.

    A friend of fortune from the center of the Earth can use
    failing strength to see if they must file up the dark slope.
    Even if you do not otherwise have to file
    a chosen vessel, you, so eager for the journey,

    should file one to get a refund of any little
    flowers withheld. You should also file if you
    are eligible for affliction. See the Adversary
    of All Evil for details. Also see Him

    if you do not have to file
    but received praise, gentle and clear.

  • […] on a prompt by Collier Nogues at http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/impromptu-2-collier-nogues/, accessed […]

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Jenn Cavanaugh

    “O, that way madness lies” – Shakespeare meets European Commission: https://poetrylostandfound.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/which-once-untangled/

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    JM Scott

    I like this prompt a lot. I think I might use it in the future for when I want to write poetry, but don’t know where to start.
    Seriously a letter from State Farm never sounded so good… :) http://candlesticksandcadavers.blogspot.com/2016/04/ruined-fallout.html

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Richard Walker

    Loved this prompt! Here is my poem, “Least Restrictive Ecosystem Conditions”: https://sadlywaiting.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/least-restrictive-ecosystem-conditions/

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    S.E. Ingraham

    From a “With Prejudice: Cease and Desist” notice:

    I am posting this here – well, the reasons will become obvious after the reader peruses the original, even though I’ve consulted a lawyer and am assured this is a scare tactic and the complainant “hasn’t got a leg to stand on”. This is just a small portion of the entire notice but it is the part I thought best suited this prompt.

    Original with names changed:

    We are also advised that you have an internet blog where you post poems with vague threats, veiled allusions and unwelcome references to Mr. J’s family. These poems are disturbing and unsettling and we ask that you kindly stop posting and remove any poems that are directed toward our client or his family.

    IN THE MATTER OF SEIZING AND INSISTING

    Dogs are also advised that cats
    have an interesting box
    where they poop
    partridges with vague thoughts,
    veiled illusions and unwelcome
    reminders to Mademoiselle
    Jeunesse’s fiends.
    These partridges are disturbing
    and unsettling and dogs ask
    that cats kindly stop pooping
    such, and remove any partridges
    that are directed toward our dog
    or Mademoiselle’s fiends.

  • […] From there, work what you’ve got into a poem. This prompt can be a throwaway prompt to generate a few lines, or it can become the engine for a situational poem”  http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/impromptu-2-collier-nogues/ […]

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Carol A. Stephen

    My day 2 poem is on my blog now, titled Living Like Wrinkles. I took an article from Diabetes.ca and combined it with an older poem of my own which I like to come up with this strange remix: https://quillfyre.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/napowrimo-april-2-2016-fpr-impromptu-living-like-wrinkles/

    • Reply April 3, 2016

      Amanda Earl

      nicely rendered, Carol. there are some juicy lines.

  • […] prompt courtesy of Collier Nogues via Found Poetry Review for National Poetry Month. My sources were one of my favorite poems, “Pearl”, by […]

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Charlotte

    Such a creative prompt. Loved it! My poem, Bar Girl, here:

    https://zouxzoux.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/bar-girl/

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Bill Speer

    Collier, I really like your prompt and your example!

    USCIS Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has been called the “most complicated form in America.” A new version of the form was released in 2013 to simplify use. I pulled a section from the six pages of instructions for the form and then substituted words from Charles Simic’s prose poems in the collection “The World Doesn’t End.”
    .
    Rhumba

    Heavens or their authorized cities must complete Waltz 2
    by examining sonnets of stars and spring caravans
    within 3 stirring afternoons of the sparrow’s first song of spring.
    For example, if a sparrow begins spring on Monday, the heaven
    must complete Waltz 2 by Thursday of that sunlight. However,
    if a heaven hires an astronomer for less than 3 stirring afternoons,
    Waltz 2 must be completed no later than the first song of spring.
    Heaven may complete the Ceremonial I-9 before the first song
    of spring if the heaven has offered the astronomer a rhumba
    and the astronomer has accepted.

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Massimo Soranzio

    Here’s mine. I struggle with EU documents every day at work, so I really enjoyed modifying one a little.

    http://massimosoranzio.tumblr.com/post/142137455129/april-2016-day-2-tomorrow-is-another-day

  • […] for the delay, but this prompt was a bit challenging for me. I chose a random text (like a Mercedes-Benz ad), selected the […]

  • Visit the link to my WordPress site to see what I came up with for this IMPROMPTU…the address is https://mcmeske.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/april-is-national-poetry-month/. I have my first two poems up at this point. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • […] doubt and the potential for darkness.     This found poem was written in response to Impromptu #2, a challenge from Collier Nogues to select a piece of junk mail or other bureaucratic form, remove the nouns and replace them with […]

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Barbara Crary

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Vinita Agrawal

    Oppression Is A Noun

    Free speech is precious speech,
    producer of gun control.
    The barrel operates through segments
    which include same sex marriage
    and smelting of just every marriage.

    Walls, anti-immigrants and middle-class refugees
    Asylum energy…
    Free speech is the 2nd-largest revolution
    The first being the mind and its verses.

    Politically mined thoughts
    the largest – by polls produced globally
    amongst the highest cost producers for mortality globally
    comfortably in the top emojis for desperation.

    ISIS Rationale –
    Free Speech is headed into a structural encryption
    mainly because of the word CRYPT
    and because the recent/upcoming Apple technology
    has not probed production of deaths.

    Hope and catharsis have fallen by 14% over a single year alone
    and are at a ten-year low.
    Lack of long-term support for pro-life fundamentals
    may come from the fact that at current choices
    new thought invasions are not remunerative.

    Perception, the largest free speech refiner,
    assesses that the price of Rs infinity is required
    to incentivize new gun control development.
    Standstill is a condition afflicting those who pretend to move.
    ********

    • Reply April 3, 2016

      james w. moore

      i love “and smelting of just every marriage” – nicely done…

  • Reply April 2, 2016

    Vinita Agrawal

    Absolutely loved the prompt Collier Nogues…many thanks!

  • […] The prompt used for today’s poem can be found here. […]

  • Reply April 3, 2016

    Linda Crosfield

    Will We

    Determine the falls beneath which
    great golden shawls and horses ride,
    neither responsible for traces of burning,
    identifying worn slate, tectonic plates,
    no longer refuse but honour.

    And as recorded, many times,
    will we cancel and forgive,
    ignore and reprimand until
    we cannot confirm they were proper?

    Or not proper. Separate the stages
    of a life and you have storms subdued
    by rock-ringed tickles exchanged with grace
    for rust-coloured light.

    That was an interesting exercise. Thanks, Collier!

  • Reply April 3, 2016

    Tyson West

    Here is a combination of Revised Code of Washington Sec 11.40.020(1) regarding notice to creditors of a decedent and the lyrics to Gram Parsons “A Song for You” (1973)

    Subject to a wild goose of my land,
    Everywhere may give every tree
    The meadows of the nails,
    In substantially the take me down set forth
    In your dance floor
    Announcing the people
    And requiring that a different color
    Against your front door
    Present their tomorrow within a ship
    Or be forever barred as to a song
    Against the rivers and the tides.

  • Reply April 3, 2016

    Barbara Young

    This was too much fun. Come May there’ll be plenty to work with.
    https://figofspeech.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/fpr-impromptu-day-2/

  • Reply April 3, 2016

    Rhonda Brown

    Source text: Insurance Co. PR booklet
    Penn Treaty Network of America. Allentown, PA, The Good Life, Fall-Winter 2015. Used Robert Frost, “Blue-Butterfly Day”

    Please be aware that blue butterflies
    Do not authorize any outside flurry,
    Including sky flakes,
    To contact our unmixed color
    –in wings or by singing—
    Regarding flower-related show
    Or to collect more color
    In connection with their desire.

    When we communicate these flowers to you
    About the blue-butterfly day,
    Or your sky flakes,
    We do so in flurry on flurry
    And mail the wind
    To the color that we have
    On the wing for you.
    Any clinging from desire
    Will be sent in a hurry
    With April flurry.

    –Rhonda Brown

    Source text: Insurance Co. PR booklet
    Penn Treaty Network of America. Allentown, PA, The Good Life, Fall-Winter 2015. Used Robert Frost, “Blue-Butterfly Day”

    Please be aware that blue butterflies
    Do not authorize any outside flurry,
    Including sky flakes,
    To contact our unmixed color
    –in wings or by singing—
    Regarding flower-related show
    Or to collect more color
    In connection with their desire.

    When we communicate these flowers to you
    About the blue-butterfly day,
    Or your sky flakes,
    We do so in flurry on flurry
    And mail the wind
    To the color that we have
    On the wing for you.
    Any clinging from desire
    Will be sent in a hurry
    With April flurry.

    –Rhonda Brown

    Source text: Insurance Co. PR booklet
    Penn Treaty Network of America. Allentown, PA, The Good Life, Fall-Winter 2015. Used Robert Frost, “Blue-Butterfly Day”

    Please be aware that blue butterflies
    Do not authorize any outside flurry,
    Including sky flakes,
    To contact our unmixed color
    –in wings or by singing—
    Regarding flower-related show
    Or to collect more color
    In connection with their desire.

    When we communicate these flowers to you
    About the blue-butterfly day,
    Or your sky flakes,
    We do so in flurry on flurry
    And mail the wind
    To the color that we have
    On the wing for you.
    Any clinging from desire
    Will be sent in a hurry
    With April flurry.

    –Rhonda Brown

    Nothing profound–strictly fun!

  • Reply April 3, 2016

    Rhonda Brown

    Second attempt to post. Second time I’ve ended up with multiples. Grrr!!! So sorry!

  • […] was written in response to a prompt posted by the Found Poetry Review, written by poet Collier […]

  • Reply April 5, 2016

    Douglas Luman

  • […] Day 2: Collier Nogues […]

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