The basic concept behind Byron’s Strategy is the power of words and their ability to seduce and in this case – seduce women. Lord Byron is the quintessential British Romantic poet (who wrote “She walks in beauty like the night”) and was infamous for being a great seducer. In fact, Lady Caroline Lamb (a former lover who stalked him for years) claimed Byron was “mad, bad and dangerous to know.” Social circles claimed that Byron’s words caused women in their passion to get at the very least breathless or, in the extreme, go insane as Caroline Lamb did. But I didn’t arrive at Byron immediately. Really I was working on a poem at my apartment and a couplet just wasn’t working out.
I needed something to rhyme with “ate” and in my desperation I started writing down as many words as possible that rhymed with “ate” – no dictionary, no internet, no resources.
Well, I rather liked the exercise and continued writing them down and then translated them into a spreadsheet. With the help of friends and colleagues I gathered a little over 400. This is where the connection with poetry began because I had to find a home for all of my beloved words. This is when I found Lord Byron.
Thinking that the only place Byron would prefer his work to be shown besides in one of his volumes of poetry, would be on his lover’s clothes he was desperate to take off, I constructed a simple skirt and began to write the words in alphabetical order around the perimeter of the skirt, each line circling higher.
After writing the words, I hand embroidered the words that were appropriate to a poetical seduction.
The idea being whether your poetry is good or bad, if you rhyme well or rhyme enough, a woman will lift her skirt. It’s persistence. It’s the comfort of knowing that something continues to repeat itself. So although modern poetry sometimes spurns iambic pentameter, the couplet, etc there is something to be said of the quiet maneuvering of similar words that hypnotize and mesmerize us. So much that we sometimes fall for the wrong man or sometimes it takes us longer to realize that we have found the right one.
- Lawndale Art Center’s Big Show, Houston, Texas
- Union Street Gallery, Union City, Illinois. Third place in show