Quilting Poetry: A Response to Chloe’s Showcase

 I’ve been meaning to write about Chloe’s quilt Showcase since we had it. I thought the analogy of a poem to quilt is a really interesting one.

It really made sense with what Lytton’s been teaching about source: that all writing comes from reading and is informed by source in some way. Similarly, quilts consist of patches of different “source” material. Often, as Chloe mentioned, quilts came from old unusable clothing. They were made from Grandad’s old jeans, from my childhood blanket, from my cousin’s wedding dress, from a forgotten nosebleed, from my old singed mittens that I tried to warm in the microwave. All of these things interestingly, could just as well be sources for poetry.

I also loved the materials that were brought. All of that beautiful wrapping paper, the ribbon. It all was very beautiful and elegant and colorful, which are words I would use to describe Chloe’s poetry. It made sense. The paint in particular I loved (as some of you may have noticed lol).

For me I really took this as a way for me to express my poetic ethos, to question what that ethos was, and to somehow sew the pieces into a quilt.

Everyone went up right away to get the pieces. I wanted to wait a) to not be in the midst of all the bustle of getting the materials first. I tend to always wait at buffets and dinners and weddings when everyone goes up to get food. I often wait till there’s no else going up. I’d rather be last. Perhaps that says something about me. and b) to think about what I wanted to do.

I ended up not coming up with anything while waiting. So I just winged it, and the first thing I thought to do was take one of those pages of beautiful metallic wrapping paper and tear off a piece of it roughly, not cleanly, not cut. I tore every piece of paper I used instead of cutting.

I think I did this because I don’t like when things are perfect. I hate sterile white rooms. Or all white outfits. That shit stresses me out. If I were to see a house all pure white inside, white couch, white walls, white carpet, it would cease to be a house; I would want to make it a canvas. I would want to splatter primary colors all over the place. Take big paint buckets and slam them against the wall, put them on a stool and shoot them with a shotgun, hack spraypraint cans with an axe, stab them with a kitchen knife. Take soil and fling it everywhere.

I’m not a fan of perfect and blank. So I chose to make my quilt the least perfect that I could. I also hate being alone in my art. My art wants to be touched by the people around it. My art wants inked fingerprints to dapple it’s face. 

So, when Amanda suggested she work with me on the quilt, I was really happy for her to do so.

We tore paper, splashed red finger paint on it, taped a golf ball I found in Arizona in my bag on it. We taped orange peels from Ari’s showcase on it, we put cute little fox stickers on it. And we put sparkle glue on it. I did things, Amanda changed some of those things.  Amanda did things, I changed some of those things (ahem… critique and revision/workshops).

    Poetry is very social for me. I write best in a shopping mall or in the union Starbucks. With a lot of voices buzzing and bouncing. It gives me the right feeling.

    It means I’m not locked in a cigar box, feverishly scribbling letters with no addressee. I don’t want that to be my writing experience.

    I also got paint all over me (thank you Amanda :P). I think that I have to be able to get dirty with my poetry. In class, I likened it to getting paint on oneself when making a painting. It’s important for me to really dig into the subject I’m dealing with, to invest myself in it and not be too cerebral.


Thank you Chloe for this really cool experience!

I learned a lot about my poetic ethos!

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