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Dalia Bolotnikov - Making It Different Test Page

Page history last edited by Dalia Bolotnikov 8 years ago

For this assignment, I decided to play around with one of Emily Dickinson's poems: Fr. 995 ("The missing All, prevented Me").  Here is the original text:


The missing All, prevented Me

From missing minor Things.

If nothing larger than a World’s 

Departure from a Hinge

Or Sun’s Extinction, be observed

’Twas not so large that I 

Could lift my Forehead from my work

For Curiosity.


My favorite result from the N + 7 Machine was N+6:


The missing All, prevented Me

From missing mirage Thirsts. 

If novel larger than a World’s 

Deposition from a Hippopotamus 

Or Sun’s Extinction, be observed 

’Twas not so large that I 

Could lighting my Forepart from my work 

For Curriculum.


Looking through all of the different results reminded me of Surrealist games -- the process seems a bit arbitrary, but the results are often surprisingly quite meaningful, either because they highlight a previously unnoticed aspect of the original text, or because the game/process generates an altogether new significance.  I do think there is value in at least sometimes doing these types of exercises by hand because physically interacting with, moving around, and changing the text pulls you into a very direct, close relationship with the work -- which I'm certain some digital tools would be able to do, as well, but I couldn't find one that worked for me personally as well as 'manual' word games.  For example, I took a poetry class a few years ago in which we had to write the 'negative' version of a poem by replacing the words with (our understanding of) their opposites.  In the case of this poem, the result might look something like this:


Original:                                                                                                              Negative version:

The missing All, prevented Me                                                                              A looming Nothingness, allows You

From missing minor Things.                                                                                  To penetrate the Sublime.

If nothing larger than a World’s                                                                             Then, everything seems smaller in Hell’s

Departure from a Hinge                                                                                        Ascent to its Diffusion,

Or Sun’s Extinction, be observed                                                                            And Moon’s Creation remains ignored

’Twas not so large that I                                                                                        Despite its vast significance. So you

Could lift my Forehead from my work                                                                     May let your Self drop to sloth,

For Curiosity.                                                                                                        To Apathy. 


On the other hand, we cannot do by hand what tools/engines/programs such as, on the more humorous side, the Eater of Meaning is able to do.  But all humor aside, by turning the words into nonsense, this engine could be very useful for really understanding the rhythmic qualities of a poem, the music muted by the words covering it up.

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