"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Saturday, November 17, 2012

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day Seventeen Prompt

"When clauses are linked in a relationship of equality, we say that the relationship is paratactic. Parataxis is the relationship between units of equal status. . . . Paratactic linking is often treated as equivalent to coordination . . .; more exactly, coordination is one type of parataxis, others being juxtaposition and linking by conjunctions such as so and yet."(Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in English Grammar. Prentice Hall, 1992)
"A series of short phrases or clauses equalized by parataxis seems almost to invite these repetitive openings [anaphora]. We are reminded, on the one hand, of Scripture's ritual iterations--a list of 'Thou shalt nots' or 'begats.' On the other hand, the humble laundry list comes to mind. When you think of it, ordinary workaday prose is often taken up with lists. They represent parataxis par excellence. . . ."
"He pulled the blue plastic tarp off of him and folded it and carried it out to the grocery cart and packed it and came back with their plates and some cornmeal cakes in a plastic bag and a plastic bottle of syrup."
(Cormac McCarthy, The Road. Knopf, 2006)
 "Twenty-two years old, weak, hot, frightened, not daring to acknowledge the fact that he didn't know who or what he was . . . with no past, no language, no tribe, no source, no address book, no comb, no pencil, no clock, no pocket handkerchief, no rug, no bed, no can opener, no faded postcard, no soap, no key, no tobacco pouch, no soiled underwear and nothing nothing nothing to do . . . he was sure of one thing only: the unchecked monstrosity of his hands." (Toni Morrison, Sula, 1973)
"Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better--splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another's umbrellas, in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foothold at street corners." (Charles Dickens, Bleak House, 1852-1853)
Prompt: Begin writing a list, or choose a phrase to repeat as your first line; some possible phrases  to repeat are I believe, I am, I am from, I don’t like, I choose, I remember, No, Let,…Any word will work.  Consider using parataxis, a juxtaposition of disparate or parallel images near each other. Or use polysyndeton, a list of coordinate conjunctions as McCarthy does in the example above.

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