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Sunday, March 22, 2009

collaborative poetry

I've not really had any experience with collaborative poetry in the context of shared writing. I always consider poetry to generally be a collaborative between the poet and the reader, but that's another whole matter.

I suppose it requires a special temperament for two artists, both poets, to work together to produce something that is a joint creation.  C.D. Wright in a symposium I attended earlier this month, spoke of collaborating with photographers on work. That seems to me to be a particularly beneficial arrangement given the tenets under which both art forms develop.

Mutating the Signature (great name by the way) is a relatively new blog of two poets who have been actually collaborating for a while now. The poets Dana Guthrie Martin and Nathan Moore have certainly put an interesting light upon such work.

Nathan for example has explained a part of the benefit of this shared creative process this way,'"Collaborative poetry offers a respite from the struggles of solitary work. My poor, overworked ego is given a break as process and product are shared, voices are melded. It’s a fantastic feeling to be partner to the creation of a voice that’s greater than your own.'" I think any of us who've written for a while are certainly aware just how solitary the work can become.

Dana seems to derive an energy from seeing the twists and turns that can develop when two are working to meld their voices. She is quoted on their site as explaining it like this... '"The surprise of the poems we’ve written. Oh, the unforeseen turns the writing takes. Going in and not knowing where you’ll come out, or when or how. The way we each respond to the words and phrases the other person contributes. How a piece that in one moment seems like it’s headed nowhere fast can, in a word or two, find its way somewhere startling, strange and gorgeous.'"

As I've stated, I've not really worked except in the simplest terms, like at a workshop of people joining to create a poem, and that was more for fun and hardly a serious collaborative venture.  I'm curious about the experiences of others, be they positive or negative. Any takers is this discussion? What's it like and perhaps you can share a bit about any rules or secrets of making it work that you'd like to share? 

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