Collage Poetry Reading at WMG
curated by Maureen Seaton
Join us on Sunday, July 1 for a reading of poetry created through a
process of collage with readers Cin Salach, Maureen Seaton, Ceclia Pinto, Kristy Bowen, and Lauren Levato.
I'm really excited about this. Lauren and I will be officially unveiling andromeda and it looks like a great lineup. I was trying to explain my writing process to someone(non-writer)last week and realized truly, not including the projects that overtly include collaging text (parts of errata, for example, and the things I've written incorporating found text) how much collage plays in a role in my composing of a poem. This is a relatively new development in the last four or so years. Maybe it's part reading and studying alot of stuff that also does this, but moreso the development of my own visual work. These days, there are definite echos of how I compose something visually in how I compose something in writing.
I think my process, up until maybe 2004, was very much, "Okay, let's write a poem about x or y" and go from there. Alot of these poems turned out basically sound (if rather predictable sometimes). These are the poems with tidy edges, hands in their laps. Prom queen poems. Some of the stuff in the fever almanac is this sort of poem, particularly in the first section (though I winnowed out the more more predictable, boring pieces, and what's left are definitely the more interesting ones.) Somehow, there was a shift in early to mid 2004, which is when I really started working on more visual work. Those poems? You see more of them in the middle and final parts of the fever almanac, where the edges aren't quite so neat. For the most part, when I'd finished the poems for that collection by that fall, I started working on errata, which is all about collage. The poems that came during and after, the stuff in feign(and everything since I'd say) are evidence of this new process. One day, I realized that when I sat down to write a poem, I began by taking my notebooks, a few days worth of jottings and notes, snippets of ideas and text, and start moving things around on the page and seeing what happened. What stuck. Letting the poem sort of come into being that way. When I sit down I usually have no clue what's going to happen and I fucking LOVE that. Maybe I'll have something as basic as a title, or a thing I want in the poem, though maybe not even that much. Which is identical to the way I work visually.
And I have to admit, not only is it a more fun and engaging sort of way to make poems, it's also produces more interesting work. In the same way my process was more predictable with the old stuff, so was the reading experience. Now, who really knows where a poem might end up, what meanderings and dodges might be necessary. More fun for you, too. (of course I also fear you don't get lost, but then maybe that's okay too.) The edges are alot less precise and groomed, a little torn and erratic.. Maybe more like drunken prom queens or the slightly weird girl who chews on her hair.