Ryan Fitzpatrick: Two Poems (in many drafts)

Compare early and late drafts to see the poet's progress

These two poems are from Fortified Castles (McNally | Amazon) Ryan Fitzpatrick, which was published by Talonbooks in 2014. The poems in Fortified Castles underwent many revisions over those years, and below you can compare some early versions with the later versions.

Check out a video interview where Ryan and I discuss the editing process for Fortified Castles and detail some of the decisions that went into the shape of the book and the specific changes made to some of the poems.

ryan fitzpatrick is a poet and critic living in Vancouver. He is the author of two books of poetry: Fortified Castles (Talonbooks, 2014) and Fake Math (Snare, 2007). With Jonathan Ball, he is co-editor of Why Poetry Sucks: An Anthology of Humorous Experimental Canadian Poetry (Insomniac, 2014). With Deanna Fong and Janey Dodd, he works on the second iteration of the Fred Wah Digital Archive, originally spearheaded by Susan Rudy. He is a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University where he works on contemporary poetics and the social production of space.

ABSTINENCE VAMPIRES (2014)

for Jonathan Ball

The problem with rehearsing Shakespeare for reals
is the puritan bonbons caught in the margins.

There is clearly something wrong with boys,
at least, it’s tough how they act all panoramic.

Imagine Donna Reed as a reverse vampire
except for the missionary-style beatdowns.

There is an infection risk inherent in how we
sit so close to the industrial processing fluids.

It’s funny how the rape fantasy isn’t apparent
until the dancing unicorns get too intimate.

We were tired of the current set of tableaux
(Hollywood, dustbowl, etc.), so we planted trees.

Changing what might indicate an end-of-the-world
scenario is quite important in any new century.

Down here on Earth, we’re happy with teenage
boys and their immigrant solutions in GTA.

Reading smut is a clear gateway to a college education
since the best guys have a purity about them.

These househusbands are so fluffy and silly
for letting themselves become totes gay vampires.

Why do you keep looking at the transformer
towers hoping they’ll become steaming geysers?

Yay for one Tiger Beat fangirl who refuses
to divorce her rainbow-fast ejaculations.

Did you know that vampire blood can cure
any possible STDs, including syphilis?

It’s clearly a tattoo that represents how much
I respect and care for all woodland creatures.

I hope that these half-vampire Juno wannabes
remember to be someone else in their life.

ABSTINENCE VAMPIRES (2009)

for Jonathan Ball

Yay for one Tiger Beat fangirl who refuses
to divorce her rainbow-fast ejaculations.

There is clearly something wrong with boys,
at least, it’s tough how they act all panoramic.

The problem with rehearsing Shakespeare for
reals is the puritan bonbons in the margins.

Imagine Donna Reed as a reverse vampire
except for the missionary-style beatdowns.

It’s funny how the rape fantasy isn’t apparent
until the dancing unicorns get so intimate.

Down here on Earth, we’re glad that teenage
boys are assaulting each other in GTA.

Reading smut is a clear gateway to a college
education since the best guys are smutty.

These house-husbands are so fluffy and silly
for letting themselves be totes gay vampires.

I hope that these half-vampire Juno wannabes
remember to be someone else in their life.

I’M OBSESSED WITH IT (2014)

The song in the ad upset me so much I cried
for days. All day long, I just want to fucking
get out of here and watch some movies. I shut
the windows then the drapes then opened my eyes.

I pull strips of copper wire from my face. This
film is one I won’t finish. Who cares how it
works? I pick up Windex for the picture window.
I wash the grain and crackle from my exchanges.

Really, I’m just embracing culture. I spool my
nerve into a shopping cart. I watch two cars
unfold in the street outside. I’ve been quietly
humming the fabric of our lives for days now.

I’M OBSESSED WITH IT (2012)

I’ll stay home to watch a movie that I just won’t
finish. Six months since moving and I still don’t
know what an addict is. You won’t know how it
ends. You pull strips of copper wire from my face.
 
The song in the ad upset me so much that I cried
for days. I read a lot of things I have to do. All day
long, I just want to fucking get out of here to watch
some movies. I cover the window with a screen.
 
I love watching the process unfold and I stare at
your face to compare marks. I’ve slowly focused on
small elements of our exchange, washing the grain
and crackle out. Really, I’m just embracing culture. 

I’M OBSESSED WITH IT (2008)

My ugly frown lines upset me. Six months
away from moving. I don’t know what an
addict is. My friends and family never hear
the end. I’ll stay home to watch a movie.

Many things upset me. There’s a song in
the ad. I read a lot of things I have to do.
Sometimes, I just want to fucking get out
of here and watch the movies. All day long

When does the movie start? I love the process.
I stare at their faces to compare. I’m glad
that I’m not obsessed by it. I appreciate and
respect it. Really, I’m just embracing culture.

More from Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan and I co-edited *Why Poetry Sucks: An Anthology of Humorous Experimental Canadian Poetry.

You can read the introductory essay for Why Poetry Sucks or read a negative review of the book that we also wrote (yes, a negative review of our own book written by us). Ryan also made a few comments as a follow-up in this short video.

Also, check out “Join the Wrinkle Resistance,” a great poem from Ryan’s first book, Fake Math (McNally | Amazon).

And of course, an interview from 2008 about the early stages of Ryan’s Fortified Castles project.

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