Monday, November 14, 2011

mix tapes and projects

Great discussion here regarding poetry contests and the mix tape vs. project manuscript. Having been on both sides (the fever almanac was more of a mix-tape, while everything since has been more project oriented, or in the case of in the bird museum , several small projects strung together.) However, while the poems in the first book were written poem by poem with no thought of a larger picture, you could argue that I definitely had a project there, even though I didn't really know what it was until I was putting it together and certain things started emerging that tied them all together. As a reader, at least when it comes to full-length books, I don't really tend to prefer one over another, though as an editor looking for chapbooks, I do tend to find myself drawn more to projects than mix tapes, since a chap is such a limited field of engagement. Even the more mix-tape like things we take on tend to be thematically and/or narratively tight in some way.

When I was working on girl show, however, which was a project from day one, I really felt how hard it was to sustain something so focused over the length of a full-length book. I probably wouldn't set out to do it again unless my project was much larger and more expansive. Of course, I'm tending toward shorter more focused projects these days: the narrative project, beautiful, sinister, the james franco poems, the text pieces from dreams about houses and bees. havoc is actually more mix-tapey, though I was consciously threading things a little while writing it.

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