Palimpsest: a manuscript rubbed smooth so it can be used again, with traces of the original showing through.
Dina Hardy created the poem below by building on and riffing off fragments of a poem by Marco Maisto.
Keep your mouse over the map background to read Dina Hardy’s piece. Hover your mouse over the poem to see the original by Marco Maisto. If you’re using a touchscreen device, touch instead of hover. Note: On iPhones, you may have to refresh the page to return to Dina Hardy’s piece.
I found three pages in my notebook that show a little of the process of how I wrote this poem.
The first page: A printout of Marco’s poem with twin columns of numbers on the left side of
each line—the number of lines per stanza (11 for all) and the number of syllables per line.
Then, a tally:
• 1 line has 7 syllables
• 7 lines have 6
• 27 have 5 (27! have 5)
• 8 have 4
• Three lines are imperatives
I drew a line and arrow at the center of the poem. I circled, underlined, made boxes around
some words, or partial words.
• ‘motel red sunset’ has the familiar workshop marginalia: !
• ‘untraceable girl’ is underlined twice
• I drew arrows to connect boy and gameday; not and knot; too and too; indigo birdnote;
birdnote and girl
The second and third pages: Along the left side of yellow legal paper, I copied Marco’s poem.
I put a box around words or parts of words I liked, scribbled out the rest. Along the right side,
I started writing phrases.
On the second page, there’s a sketch of a tilted box with a cross inside. That’s a kite.
The bottom right corner of the third page is torn, probably for a grocery list or a phone number.
Marco Maisto is a Pushcart nominee who studied at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Now or soon, you can find poetry/comix/art/reviews in Drunken Boat, The Colorado Review, The Offing, Electric Lit/Okey-Panky, TYPO, Timber, Fjords, Spry, Heavy Feather Review, small po[r]tions, and other journals. He lives in NYC.
At the time I’d been experimenting with compound-, and (especially) abstract adjectives as a way of marrying a certain sense of hyperspecificity/history, and strangeness to actions, colors and things. So I focused on those kinds of phrases. I kept the ones that made me want to know more about any world that could have things like “exorbital teal” / “kilowatt-click dresses” in it. I put these traces of content together in a way that occasionally posits a speaker and even—if the reader wants—a narrative. What I ended up with made me want to listen to recordings of Anne Tardos and Ted Greenwald. Some of their insanely gorgeous, (in)elegant prosody shaped this piece and the others like it that I continue to write.