Makin' Copies

the way cut and paste used to be
If you were out for an early morning walk on my street this week, so early that the sun hadn't yet risen, you may have seen a lamp burning in a corner window of my house. I was at my desk in the glow of that lamp, in the sweet, quiet hours of pre-dawn. I was not doing any of the following:

1. ordering gifts
2. preparing holiday cards
3. wrapping presents
4. planning holiday menus
5. stringing popcorn
6. baking cookies
7. etc, etc, etc

What I was doing is this: Going through my file folder labeled 'handouts.' Cutting poems and poet bios out. Arranging them on a piece of paper. Taping them down. Jotting down notes and attributions. Makin' copies (anyone else remember that skit from Saturday Night Live?).

This is a little labor of love I have going on. When I see a poem that I think is (a) wonderful, (b) interesting, (c) particularly well-crafted, (d) about to take off the top of my head, (e) stirring something inside for me that I need to write about, or (f) all of the above, I print it out and drop it in my handouts file. After I have a handful of poems gathered up, I take out the scissors and tape, and start cutting and pasting. Literally. I know there must be an electronic way to do this, but I love the old, analog method -- it makes me feel close to the paper and the poems. After I've cut and pasted all the poems and bios, I make a few copies. Then I send the handout to two of my poetry buddies. The idea is to read these poems, study them, learn from them, and use them as jumping-off points for new, original work.

[A note about copyright: I've done some research and I think I'm in the clear with copyright laws/fair use, since the handouts are intended for educational purposes and provide no economic gain to me.]

I learned the handout concept from my excellent former teacher, Deborah Keenan. Up until now, I've sent out only a few handouts to only a few people. But I would like to offer the handouts to anyone who wants one. Maybe you are a teacher that would like to use them in class. Maybe you're always looking for new (or new-to-you) poets to read and study. Maybe you are just a person who would like to have a few poems sprinkled into your days from time to time, or to learn a little bit of poetry. If you'd like a copy of the handouts, send me a message at mollycspencer (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send one to you each time I make one (which is, so far, about once a quarter). The stamp's on me.

Hooray for spreading the poems, hooray for poetry!


drew said...

Please, count me in!
I love poems, I love mail, I love your literary tastes.

Ms. WK said...

Kind of like our old scrapbooking with all the sayings from magazines... love it.
I am all about cut and paste!