Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Friday, May 20, 2011

House of Words (no. 25): Dave Bonta and the internet, 6

Dave Bonta, "Brush Mountain under ice,"
February 2011
MY: One thing I notice about the online part of what publishers call "presence" — particularly through Facebook and sometimes through my blog — is that I meet people who want to collaborate. I don't always have the time for this, but I have met wonderful artists in various fields this way. They have given me far more than I can ever give back, except through the simple fact of going on and doing work that they like. You are involved in a number of ongoing collaborations. How did they begin, and how do they make you more fruitful or help (imp the wing!) your own creativity?


DB: They definitely help. They come about naturally enough, because if you have a daily writing habit, you're always looking for material. For example, when the nature blogger and photographer Jennifer Schlick approached me last month about writing poems in response to a series of 16 macro photographs of spring wildflowers, I jumped at the opportunity. Ekphrastic poems are fun to write, and I love wildflowers. The fact that the poems will be featured in an artists book associated with an exhibition in upstate New York, and possibly in a print-on-demand book if we can figure out how to do that — that's gravy, but it wasn't my primary incentive.

I like these eyes in a beech bole...
Dave Bonta, "Beech grotesquerie," February 2010

Similarly, Luisa A. Igloria's now daily responses to my Morning Porch posts began almost by accident, on Facebook, where I automatically repost Morning Porch content. A very busy writer and academic, she has just enough time (and brilliance) to write a poem in her spare time each day, but not enough time to chill on her front porch as I do and watch the world go by until a poetic subject turns up. So she gets a daily prompt and a new audience, and I get stellar content to re-post to Via Negativa, plus the opportunity to watch a master poet at work. Her energy feeds off my indolence. I love it.

There are just so many opportunities for collaboration now — I don't see how any serious writer can fail to be excited by that. I think poets need to move away from the mentality of always writing for the next, single-author book, or if that's too much of a stretch, at least stop thinking about collections of poetry solely in terms of print.

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful beech-eyes. Inspiring notion that we can push ourselves into new spheres of art, if we can only spare the energy. Some time I would like to meet Dave also. Perhaps when I visit Floyd, we can manage that.

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  2. Yes, that would be a worthy outing!

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.