Friday, August 19, 2005


JH: Print publication would be most suitable for Monster, given its size. Monster as a book would be a more comfortable reading experience. The reader would be able to mark pages via bookmarks or page numbers written inside the cover, to keep track of what motifs and plotlines appeal to him or her. Who knows, perhaps a publisher will take it on as a book. Failing that, publishing it in excerpts online, as a serial, may be an approach. Say 20 or 30 pages at a time. Publishing it in serial volumes via something like Cafepress would also be possible. I would prefer doing both simultaneously. Will Monster ever be finished? A great question! There's no end in sight. Until one of us gives up for good (willingly or because of death), it seems to be an unstoppable narrative. Why did it grow to such a size? Was it something in the poem that did not consent to a hasty end? Or is it the collaborative process that's responsible?

AHB: Do you do things like that, track motifs and plotlines? I know Finnegans Wake and/or Ulysses (the and/or pretty much cancels the 'I know' part of my statement) were written in various coloured crayons to indicate for Joyce himself (who was going blind) the various themes he was intertwining. No such forethought in Monster! Monster has gone forth on the force of our interest. We've been tenacious with certain characters and themes. That tenacity has kept the ball rolling. You use the word narrative, which I am comfortable with, but that's not to suggest a storyline, not fulfilled at any rate. I think our collaborative process is just challenging enough to keep the energy up. We each know that whatever one writes will be bumped slightly, causing a mild detonation of reconsideration, piston chug, etc. I love large texts. Proust, Joyce: classic monsters. And lengthy contemporary works by Jim Leftwich (Doubt), Ivan Argüelles (Madonna Septet). I've looked forward with anticipation and curiosity to seeing Ron Silliman's The Alphabet in some finalized and complete form (I have read about half of the works associated with it). Just this moment I received I Take Thee, English, for My Beloved by Eileen Tabios (Marsh Hawk Press), a pulchritudinous 10x7x1ΒΌ 'brick', as Eileen calls it. I daresay I have an 800 page manuscript myself. I think, basically, we are enjoying the ride, and the work will continue until we don't. I almost would like it to stop so that we could try a different sort of collaborative, but it won't be me who gives in first. You know the dilemma that Ashbery posed at the beginning of Three Poems, leaving it all or taking it all out. Either works, and we went the long way. Once the lottery hits for us, I would have no problem getting Monster printed, rather than await the interest of some poor small press. Or could you see Monster being published in multiple volumes, as Ron Silliman has done with The Alphabet? Do you get depressed or distracted by the marginality of poetry?


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