Virginia Woolf

by Andrea Baker

Working Note

This piece began with the hard visual image of a series of houses like Russian capsule dolls, each one hanging by a string from the ceiling of the one on top. I couldn't escape the image and couldn't find a way to move it into poems so I was doodling quite a bit in my notebook.

In a pitched effort I began to take scissors to my pages, cutting out the drawings and bits of language. I discovered glue and the Xerox machine which could change the sizes of things. For weeks I made several trips a day to the 5 cent copy machine at the dollar store near my house, each time giddy with pleasure as I walked.

The houses are birthed but not quite real (line drawing) houses. This is the first poem I wrote after having lost a pregnancy. I was in a state of shock and deep within a pit (my own body) that both birth and death—not extended from, but were joined within.

I worked in collage off visual principles. Xeroxing, cutting, gluing, and painting with white-out were acts that in themselves reflected birth and erasure. Collage was a method of order.

House - page 1


Bio: Andrea Baker's work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Fence, La Petite Zine, Lit, Vert, and Volt. She is Poetry Editor at 3rd Bed and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and son.

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