Cut-Up Creations

William S. Burroughs at the Gotham Book Mart.jpg

So today, I learned about cutting up text for the sake of finding a new way to express or explain an essay, and in a way, can form poetry. The form of literature art was made by William S. Burroughs in the 1950’s and 1960’s. His method included him cutting up articles and essays and using words at random from each piece of literature to form a kind of confused but insightful poems, which at times, take no form of grammar in order to express the essay in a meaningful way. I took an essay I wrote on my life for catching, preparing, and eating fish, and I stuck It into this website, which would cut up my essay into many words and paste random words in the order of which they appear, and the “sentences” formed almost never followed an English structure. This is one of the lines that I was outputted after being chopped.

“Myself, blue, silver, and ferocious.”

I liked this line from the cut-up because it is the complete opposite of myself. I’m not blue, I’m not silver, heck, I’m not ferocious. I’m just friendly. What’s funny is the essay that this comes from discusses my love for fish, and where I describe a mackerel as blue and silver. This line literally compares me, makes me a fish, because you are what you eat.

Typical end products of cutting up are more insightful on the author’s topic than usually depicted in the writing. Countless authors have “found” poetry in practicing this method by cutting up strips of newspapers, essays, videos, tapes, audio. Many of the cut-ups, when put together, sound cryptic, but in a poetic sense, sometimes there is logic and understanding with what you hear, see, feel.

Here are some songs that I feel are relevant to the “excerpt” that I took from my essay.


Eye of the Tiger

American National Anthem

When you cut-up your essays and such, you should try to relate the result to yourself and even find music as well that suits it. Discover something new, there’s always something there, even if it isn’t evident.


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