No Contest for Content

Last week I missed my Sunday visual poetry due to a very fun and special family birthday party, so today I’ll be exploring two homographs: Content and Contest.

A blackout poem using purple sharpie on clear plastic over a random page from Rose Windows by Painton Cowen.
Dwelling Entirely in the Slime of the Earth by Maria L. Berg 2022

Content & Contest

Let’s start with a quick overview of the meanings of our homographs from dictionary.com. Each of these has two pronunciations as well.

Content (kon-tent): Usually contents.

  1. something that is contained: the contents of a box.
  2. the subjects or topics covered in a book or document.
  3. the chapters or other formal divisions of a book or document: a table of contents.

something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts: significance or profundity; meaning: substantive information or creative material viewed in contrast to its actual or potential manner of presentation: that which may be perceived in something.

~That last meaning opens up content to be just about anything.

Content (kuhn-tent): satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.

Contest (kon-test) noun: a race, conflict, or other competition between rivals, as for a prize: struggle for victory or superiority: vigorous or bitter conflict in argument; dispute; controversy.

Contest (kuhn-test) verb: to struggle or fight for: to argue against; dispute: to call in question: to contend for in rivalry.

I’m feeling content to create content on this lovely, clear day. I won’t contest the results of my visual poetry experiments, and appreciate the poetic content equally. It’s not a contest.

The same image of the previous poem with a page of text from Man and his symbols by Carl G. Jung next to it.
Now the Experiment by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

The Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt yesterday was “clear” which got me thinking about the clear sleeve idea I started playing with “Combine.” I’ve been thinking about using the clear plastic to create blackout poetry. I thought it would be fun to print text in the same size and font and then use a blackout design from one poem on another piece of text.

Since I wanted to use small, uniform text, I photocopied sections from a few non-fiction texts I own. I started with Rose Windows by Painton Cowen. Choosing a random page from the introduction, I created the first image in this post.

Then I switched out the text to a page from Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung using the same blackout and got this:

The same purple blackout over a new text from Man and his symbols by Carl G. Jung, creating a new poem.
The Dream of the Unconscious Dreamer by Maria L. Berg 2022

I used this same blackout with two other random pages from non-fiction I own, and moved it up and down the pages. I highly recommend trying this as an inspirational tool. I’m loving it. It’s like creating a cipher to bring your own, new understanding to any text. I also like that it leaves the original text intact as I change it and make my own choices and meanings.

The Poem

Dwelling Entirely in the Slime of the Earth

Transfix us equally
unexpected feeling
elusive awe and wonder

this experience
accentuated by
interweaving tensions

poured light of
infinite shades
in the sun

glowing quietly
jewels and coloured
glass possessing

me dwelling
in some strange
universe which exists

entirely in the slime of the earth

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