Friday, July 07, 2006


JH: Not cool at all! Sometimes I clip along merrily, for a few lines, but there's always something in poetry, for me, that resists writing. That the poetic winds up in the words that prose uses is something that the poetic resists mightily. So I'm a nervous nutty wreck, too. For me poetry cannot be planned - it could happen at any moment, and it could stop after a few lines. The poetic comes from nowhere, but the solely human has to write along with what the poetic provides. What makes me nervous is wondering, as I'm writing, which is the poetic and which is me. When I get a thought as how to finish a line, and what line should follow a particular line, and where to enjamb a line I feel it's me doing the thinking, being of the intuition that the poetic does not allow me, or indeed any poet, into its thought process. Do you think the poetic arrives fully formed, but incompletely recognizable to the human mind (thus requiring writing to bring it more into view)? Or do you think the poetic itself is a process given to the poet and the final product, the poem, is something the poetic wants (though often the poet realizes that the poem is very much removed from the original process)? Considering these ideas of the poem as a collaboration between the human and the poetic, does a collaborative poem between two poets, such as Monster, shine any light on the matter?

AHB: First, apologies that I'm so slow in responding to you. I take a pointless pride in my usual writing quickness (altho I am very poky in formal, thesis-type writing), but I am living in a high disractability. Anyway. Fully formed and incompletely recognizable, verily yeah. That iffiness is important, I think. It exists as a kind of desperation or at least ill ease whilst trying to read or write poetry (or come to grips with any art form). The artistic experience suffers (I use the verb guardedly) a randomness, in which the artist doesn't know if what he/she does is 'The Real Thing”, and the one partaking doesn't know either. Not in the classic 'I know pornography when I see it' way. I mean, okay, top of the head blows off, that's a good clue, but I don't think even Emily had that surety all the time. Certes she fussed her poetry, equivocated. Perhaps a collaboration does illuminate the thinking here, insofar as half the process goes on beyond you and me, each singly. Speaking clearer (would that I could), I mean we throw leaps at the other that aren't easily mapped. I wonder how you got to some point, and vice versa, and we, collaborating, feel we must make up the distance and try to continue. Which we do. We make our artistic decisions but Monster seems to develop on its own. We do not, in distinction from some collaborators, have much discussion as to how to proceed. Even if we did, there's still you, me, and the thing itself, creating the Monster. We each have only so much control of the reins. I think I agree that the poem is what the poetic wants, and the poet goes along for the ride.


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