Crossword puzzles, word searches, anagrams. Where the blank is, place your letters. Where the letters are, organize a word arising out of them. Where you've been given a word, rearrange, splice, make it new. Favourite of all, this:
W O R D
W A R D
H A R D
H A R T
H A L T
Every letter will change. We are with the atomic, the particle-ular.
Last semester, a brilliant student in my Modern Poetry Discussion Section read the last three lines of Yeats "Who Goes With Fergus":
"And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breast of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars."
She brought to the surface w, s, d, as they wandered, dishevelled. Dishevelled itself an unlevelling of a pallindrome which Yeats uses earlier in the poem: level no more. Since reading James Joyce's Ulysses I have never read "world" as anything but "wor(l)d."
Car journeys, and the horizon always level. Staring out the window, the horizon always level and passing. Then, stationary in traffic, an adjacent lane edges into motion and we are of a sudden sliding backwards. Nothing kinetic is different, nothing measurable, and yet we have felt our own motion despite the evidence. Words changing. Unlettered. Recombined. What poetry is. Word to halt and moving on, again.
(Dingbat Poetics #1)