Saturday, October 15, 2016

Word Salad — Playing Bob Dylan's Tarantula

photo © Mark Butkus 2010

It's time to play Bob Dylan's Tarantula!

The object of the game is to complete an eight line poem of eight syllables each by reaching into a bag and grabbing 64 syllables and arranging them into a poem. The only words that are available for use in the game are culled from the 264 words that make up the titles of the poems in Bob Dylan's first book of poetry — Tarantula — published in 1971.

An alternate version of the game involves the use of any eight words per line regardless of syllable count. This could either sped up your play or slow your play depending on your play...or state of mind.

Dylan's "new" style of poetry is not all that new. Poe used a version of it — trochaic octameter — to write The Raven. Octave stanzas and refrigerator magnet poems are also borrowed. There is also a nod to William S Burroughs school of cut and paste random words and sentences together that Dylan was fond of incorporating into his poetry.

In the end, Tarantula poetry is just a fun game to play while honoring the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature winner — Bob Dylan.

Eight Syllable Line Word Salad

Maria's brother has the note
saying crash to a watching horse
contemporary cell advice
filthy to a pointless mouthful
to drink like floating king falcons
Mae, and the pocketful of guns
black, having to fix race labor
a confederate movie nite

Eight Word Line Word Salad

Hello Sacred Sunday! Having a chug, floating, watching
a crosseyed jailhouse stranger with the pacifist model
and the hopeless Oakie flunking the useless waltz
a contemporary ballad cuts a furious barrier blast
unpunished angel boy and me kissing cracked guitars
Has links to taste a mouthful shotgun blues
forty mouth handles seems to extremely hollar west
as I skid from the corner race riot

The foreword to Tarantula states that it didn't matter what Bob Dylan wrote. It would sell because he was Dylan at the height of his popularity and a weak book by John Lennon — In His Own Write — had sold well. What can you write using Dylan's titles from Tarantula?

No comments:

Post a Comment