San Diego Poetry Guild

notes on guild, poetry, and San Diego

10.31.2004

Methods of Treatment of the Material

[a new installment in an ongoing Assembly Poetics]

A poetic document, and consequently also a poem, is always divided into a great number of separate pieces (more correctly, it is built out of those pieces). The sum of the poem is divided into parts, each part into movements, and, finally, the movements themselves (portions or partitions within a poetic document) are constructed from a whole series of pieces (verbal-visual cues and other performed 'scenes') themselves assembled from various materials.

An actual poem, ready for use as poetry, must take into account this basic property of the poetic document. The poet, a document technician, must be able to assemble his or her material exactly as it will appear upon the paper, the screen, the stage, the Web, etc., thus giving exactly the content of each part as well as its position in the document.

The construction of a poetic movement from pieces, each part from movements, and the poetic document from its various parts, and so forth, is called editing. Editing is one of the most significant instruments of effect possessed by the document technician and, therefore, by the poet also. Let us now become acquainted with its methods one by one.

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