What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
—Allen Ginsberg, “A Supermarket in California“
This weekend I was flying home from Cleveland, looked down at my New Yorker, and had a mini-revelation:
Underlining. Highlighting. Circling. When we read interactively, when we “alter” texts, we’re isolating little bits of writing that speak to us. Fire our imaginations. Illuminate something.
It’s the same thing when we hyperlink: we’re pointing to something that speaks to us.
And it’s the same thing when I make a blackout poem.
It’s the same practice done in the opposite spirit: they’re isolating text that speaks to no one!