X MARKS THE SPOT

From “Gathered, Not Made: A Brief History of Appropriative Writing”
Raphael Rubinstein:

o) Bernadette Mayer’s “X on Page 50 at half inch intervals.” Reprinted in the 1992 Bernadette Mayer Reader, this prose text of the 1970s records the words (and empty spaces) which Mayer encounters on a printed page as she traces an X across it. Ostensibly doing nothing more than transcribing an arbitrary sequence of words, Mayer opens up her unidentified source text to diverse meanings. That appropriation plays an important role for Mayer can be seen in a list of experiments presented in her workshop at the St. Mark’s Poetry Project in the early 1970s (published in the 1986 anthology In the American Tree). “Experiment with theft and plagiarism in any form that occurs to you,” reads one entry. “Use source materials, that is, experiment with other people’s writings, sayings, & doings,” advises another.

X ON PAGE 50 at half inch intervals

upper left corner to lower right corner: (in the margin), (in an empty space above he’s), (on the k in fucking), (in an empty space behind said), (in an empty space before the I ), (in an empty space before the a in and), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space).

lower left corner to upper right corner: (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (on the a in at), (in the empty space after aches), (on the exclamation point before said), (on the u in fucking), (in the empty space above he’s), (in the margin).

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