Thursday, March 26, 2009

Collaborating with Trisia Eddy

Last spring, when I was still in Edmonton, Trisia Eddy and I started an accidental collaboration when she printed some poems I’d sent her on pages that had some of her poems still on them (see what happens when you work to recycle paper, but put pages in your printer the wrong way). What she saw between the lines became the first part of what, hopefully, could be an ongoing collaboration. Published as the chapbook recycled cities at the end of May, 2008 by her own Red Nettle Press, we launched two days before I returned east. Will there be more? Recently, now that she’s sent me some poems of hers to play with, I work on my own version, aiming to be a chapbook of its very own.

pleasant, a spring

mosquitoes biting bone
& pull just at the hook, between
the smoke of fire lit
on with rust, afternoon

in my pocket, the most beautiful wishes,
flickering, noticed

channeled of gumbo, turned parchment
my dream, dry
on our tongues

This is not the first collaboration I’ve worked, with a previous (unpublished) renga with Stephen Brockwell, Dean Irvine and Shane Rhodes in 2002, two small pieces with Matthew Holmes (that he still, for some reason, hasn’t given me copies of), an unfinished longer poem with Wanda O’Connor, some poems worked with Lea Graham (some of which appeared in a recent issue of The Capilano Review) and an ongoing fiction collaboration with Lainna. Where might it all go? I’m fascinated by the idea of collaboration, working a project to push back two individual egos and structures, and, in a perfect collaboration, create something that is an imagined “third” party, between the two (or further) collaborators that is none of them but all.

a history we use (it being spring): two variants

still, ice on the lake
three men in the same suit
snails empty, embedded,
checkmark boxes on bright yellow foolscap
cattails, soldered onto shivering

boardwalks, where your stick only
an advertisement for car audio
reaches just below, the surface
obscures a young girl
& hundreds of water fleas

I know this is more
than a week

still, ice on the lake
there are songs I remember,
snails empty, embedded,
I could never forget
cattails, scolded onto slivering

boardwalks, where your stick only
by the bend of the bough,
reaches just below the surface
across what the apple left

hundreds of water fleas
once all this gravity, no longer
a week, born into transition

I think the loose idea is to see if I can get a chapbook out of this, and then to see if we can each get another, and then compile what we’ve created, to see if any of it is worth continuing, whether in this form, or another. But still.

I know, a few years ago, Toronto poet Stephen Cain worked ten different collaborations (with ten deliberately changed structures) with ten different poets. Whatever happened to that?

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