noah eli gordon



Write a poem comprised of a single sentence, spread across at least seven lines of no fewer than five words each. Repeat one of your lines three times, but not in succession. Include the following:

the phrase “as when the”
a scientific term
a flower's proper name
the name of a country in South America
a person's proper name
the phrase “which is to say”
something improper


I have a note here that reads:

“Time passes while one is writing a book . . . kid naming things in kitchen . . . what better project is there . . . and the outcome? the object? well, we're all that for someone else.”

I have no idea what to do with it, so I stuck it here for you. I refuse to elaborate any further. And that refusal, my friend, is the exact moment when the work of art raises its head, looks around, stands up, and then walks away.


Create a work of art that documents via a clear argument your dislike of polemical art.


You're struck by an idea. It hurts a little that the thing doesn't turn instantaneously into art (stick with me, I should have mentioned that this striking was done by an idea for art). The homeless man at the stoplight turning his cardboard sign in the wrong direction so that the message, the plea, becomes a private interior one—that could have made a good poem, but you're not that sort of poet, right?


Read only page 26 of ten thousand books at your local public library; cull from them bits of language, which you’ll then fuse together, while altering some nouns to read the Source so they become reflective of the parameters of the project. At its core, you’re creating a prose cento, a continuation of a practice dating from the Homeric song stitchers of antiquity to current trends in hip-hop culture and electronic music; however, this will also be a testament to the interconnectedness and mutability of all writing, as well as an exploration of the notion of origins, both textual and spiritual. The choice of page 26, while obviously corresponding to the amount of letters present in the English alphabet, is also important in kabbalist terms; it represents the numerical value of the tetragrammaton, the four Hebrew letters that form the name of God. Additionally, according to the Talmud, the Torah would have been revealed during the 26th generation of the history of the world; thus, it is Moses who, 26 generations after Adam, receives the Torah transmitted by God. Interestingly, by using a correspondence table, where each letter is given in ascending order a numerical value (A=1, B=2, C=3, etc.), the name of God in English has a total value (G=7, O=15, D=4) of 26. The problems of numerology aside, you should undertake this project in order to investigate whether or not constraint-based, conceptual writing might have a spiritual dimension. Ask yourself if rigid and systemic modes of writing can embody an emotionally charged engagement with the world, if constrained bibliomancy and ambient research are authentic means to uncovering the many vectors of messy truth.


Write a sentence that acts as the solid foundation upon which one might build the perfect house.


Learn by heart the words and melody to a song in a language that remains foreign to you. Sing it everywhere. Sing it while you’re alone, while you’re standing on a subway platform, while at school, while strolling through a naval shipyard–actually, don’t stroll there, unless you’re a naval officer.


Sing the melody to a famous American pop song but substitute the actual lyrics for nonsense words and sounds that approximate in their pitch and color that of an actual foreign language. Do this in public. Do it until someone around you recognizes the song.


Keep a careful and meticulous diary of the events of someone else’s life. This has nothing to do with the writing of a novel. If you find it leaning in that direction, push it elsewhere.


Start a reading series. Give it an interesting and catchy name. Invite renowned as well as up-and-coming poets and fiction writers. For each event, sculpt humorous yet endearing introductory remarks. Save these intros. Do this for years. Collect all of the accumulated text into a single document. Replace every proper name with variously gendered pronouns. Publish the work under the name of the original reading series, but make no mention of it other than that.


Draw a perfect circle. Then draw perfection circularly. If you were to now explain the difference between these two images using only conjunctions, what color would those conjunctions be?