30 sept. 2005

I'd rather write a long poem that ends up being something significant through sheer accumulation or accident.

I have no wish to do a project that starts up as a long pretentious plan of action, of which I have to fill in the parts.

Is there any difference between these two things? Why do I reject willfulness? Poems that proclaim their own importance?

I hate the idea of having an "obras completas." Yet not having an oeuvre is as worse than having one. You must shoulder your own narcisissm, take responsibility for it. Do people dream of being part of the Library of America? Is that Rachel Blau du Plessis' ambition?

Can you imagine someone kept up at night by the doubt of whether he is a major poet or not? That sort of willful canonicity doesn't bother me in some poets, but does in others. Why is that?

I'd love to do a medium-length poem in collaboration with someone else. Why is collaboration impossible. The narcissism of poets? Who is my poetic soul-mate? Whom can I trust?

12 comentarios:

Laura Carter dijo...

Maybe for some folks, for a lot of folks, writing is part of how they/we search out the world, so it makes sense to want things to hang together. Even without a canon, this impulse would probably be pretty strong in some writers. It's unifying. That can be, if nothing else, a comfort, a source of measure. I don't know.

GJPW dijo...

Long live the minor poets!

Jordan dijo...

Why is collaboration impossible?

Jess dijo...

Hejinian and Collom's Sunflower is a top notch collaboration.

& of course Coltsfoot Insularity and Full on Jabber.

Jonathan dijo...

Not impossible. It just hasn't worked for me as yet.

It has to take place between equals or near equals.

One person cannot be more committed to the project than the other.

One voice cannot subsume the other.

It requires trust.

JWG dijo...

or just a lot of fun. It doesnt need to be painful or serious. can be just like a game of chess with a friend.

Tony dijo...

Andrew Mister and Anthony Robinson's collaborative chapbook is pretty darn good, if I may humbly plug.

It'll be out by AWP.

Gary dijo...


Read Nada and my Swoon. Then, Daniel Davidson's and Tom Mandel's Absence Sensorium. Whether or not you like either of these collaborations, the issue of "equals" or "voices subsuming one another" are moot in both cases. And both of these work.

Don't believe me. Instead, read them!

PS: The "word verification" for this comment is frighteningly close to your last name: "rmhew"!


Nick Piombino dijo...

Great topic. I second the recommendation to read Swoon and Absence Sensorium (both on my ongoing read and reread list). Also, Awhile back, at the Bowery Poetry Club, I heard Mitch Highfill and Joe Eliot read from an excellent ongoing collaboration, which, as far as I know,has not yet seen the light of print or online zine.

Gary dijo...

Thanks, Nick. Joe and Mitch's piece, which I agree is really wonderful, is tentatively called The Exeter Book. Like the anglosaxon Exeter Book, Joe & Mitch write up long involved "riddles," each of which has an answer, like "wind" or "onion" or "lampray." Mitch says they have 30-35 completed, and a lot more waiting. They each write them separately, and then send them to the other person, who then edits considerably, changing things, adding other things, deleting other things. Each riddle goes through at least one pass, and usually more.

I really hope someone will publish the whole thing as a book. Anyway, there's no sense there that one voice is crowding out the other. I can't tell who wrote what, actually.

Tom Beckett dijo...

Another truly interesting book of collaborations is _Well Well Reality_ by Rosmarie and Keith Waldrop(The Post-Apollo Press).

I'd just comment that like jazz or sex or painting or anything worth doing, collaboration takes practice. Might want to start out with some simple studies before moving on to the Sistine Chapel.


michael dijo...

i'd collaborate, if you could do it without the letter E.