Tuesday, June 13, 2006


JH: An ending to Monster could, at this point, only be imposed from without. It would not be dictated by the poem. The very fact of characters vanishing, seemingly forever, in this poem seems to drive it on further. Were the most-recurring characters - Wormswork and Ophelia, to name two of them - to disappear forever - but what is forever in this poem? - other characters would step to the fore of the stage. Often, I think, the main characters are but allusions (as in an elegy, it now occurs to me) - but then they become solid characters again. Do our theories of the poem, of poetry, as we've discussed on Antic View, hold true for the collaborative poem (in general, and Monster in particular)? Do the poetics need altering when we speak of the collaborative poem? What happens in a collaboration - is Monster a poem or a collaborative poem? I think of Monster as being as much a self-sufficient poem, with its own nature and demands, as a solo poem - but cannot explain, yet, as to why.

AHB: I see Monster as unended, possibly unendable. But is this monster alive if unpublished? Or does it await the thunderstorm, the opening of the ceiling, the direct effects of the world? The distinction between poem and collaborative poem interests me. With collaboration, we have a thing between us. You see it your way, I see it mine. It is both! A collaboration makes itself. I've remarked before that I often can't tell which part you wrote and which part I wrote. I need little clues such as that you use the ambersand and I use English spellings to identify the author of a section. You and I disappear, replaced by The Author of Monster. The work is a living thing. It is also a snaky path we follow. Sometimes I cue directly from what you write, and sometimes I plough forth almost as if I hadn't read the preceding. I assume a similar experience on your side. I think this giving over to the work is similar whether in collaboration or solo. Of course with the collaborative process (at least as we've defined it), we depend on the other's response. With distractions lately, I haven't been as quick replying to your installments as formerly. The collaboration is written in its own time, a combination of yours and mine. Ornette Coleman did a recording in which he had two bassists. One or both (as usual I'm fuzzy on details) f the bassists were recorded elsewhere with no idea what the rest of the combo was doing. Which I offer as a different vision of collaboration. Disappearances and reappearances.


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