Wednesday, December 15, 2010

40's Postal Project One: Lisa Pasold & Bremner Duthie

Dec 15th 2010. I return home from invigilating exams. It is snowing again in Mulhouse. My new apartment is warm, though, and hummmms emptily. Far from you, Lisa & Brem, my friends, and your wonderful energy, I sit down in my kitchen and begin to select random words from the London Review of Books. Then I clip out tiny images of insects from a reproduced book cover. I stop to look around the house at all the scraps of other magazines, letters, cards. I find the envelope, such a colorful, bright, flowery envelope, from one of my birthday cards on my desk piled high with stories and papers waiting to be read and graded. I am foregoing such things tonight to make this little something for you.

With the enveloppe and my scattered pile of words, a glue stick and some other scraps I have collected, I transform my little Bristol card for you, hoping that this will bring into your house a little blue bright sky. I label the bird human, I pick words that attract me, not thinking of phrases or syntax. The language is in a sky, floating, just as it will soar your way tomorrow morning.

I have my terrible cheap camera, and in a million and one attempts I end up with a few photos to stick here. I slip the work with the collage(s)--because I ended up making a mini collage on the other side of the Bristol card, too--into an enveloppe adressed to you, in hopes of protecting the little words. I would not want any language to fall off en route, for syllables to be lost on the road, left to their own devices!

It is late now, and I am still thinking of you. I hope that there it is snowing, too. Crystalline, soft snow. Whispering to you as you sleep--for it is very very late now--and I hope you dream of lotus flowers, carmine, of green tropical places seen across and beyond a snowy desert. I hope that this little card, waiting to go out to the mail, in my personal mail outbox, will bring you joy.

Pictured above: Full collage (at top of blog post) then back of collage, detail of back of collage mini collage, and then the collage in its enveloppe in my entryway waiting to be taken outside and sent to Brem & Lisa.

Pictured below: details from 40's Postal Project 1, then another version of the full collage:

The 40's Projects: An explainer...

For this, my 5th decade, I decide to start the 10 years with one dedicated to 4 (one for each preceding decade of my life thus far) creative/critical word & image projects. Further ideas welcome, but the current projects are as follows:

1) Postal project: make 40 original A5 collages and mail them out to 40 people. Focus: making with words & image, and not holding onto the creation. Time jettisons us forward, despite ourselves. It feels now like perhaps it is accelerating, or that the fire of my 20s is only visible but no longer palpable as I enter this next decade. But that may be only perspective, and hopefully an erroneous one. Play is important. And part of creative play is knowing how nothing is precious and everything is precious. Being in the moment of making is the key here, and then passing that moment to others. So, I will make collages from words and images and mail the originals to one person. They can then do what they want with them. This said, I hope that the recipients will not toss my work in their trash bins! In fact, I hope that in each case the recipients will also mail a collage item back to me, and will also take a picture of the collage in their home that I can add to my posts here. As I go, I will post images of my collages, as here, on the blog. I will print out on A4 paper photos of both sides of these collages and put them up on a wall in my new home. At the end of the year, it should be covered by 80 sheets of A4 images of these cards.

2) The Century Variations (12): write 1 "variation" poem a month on a poem from a different century starting from the 1000's and ending in the 21st century. That is 12 centuries, 12 poems. This project was inspired by listening to Jerome Rothenberg talk about and read from his Variations on poems he wrote himself some decades back. It made me excited to explore time and altered perspectives, and I also wanted to revisit poems from different centuries, perhaps discover new ones while looking for the texts I want to work off of each month. I have not yet decided whether these will be posted to the blog or not... we will see how I feel on that. This project is about history, and being part of, touching, pasts far greater than my own short lived life. Entering into the stream of history's wealth of words and works and passages of poetic development. Critically, I am already worried about how I can possibly select from an entire, rich century one work to work off of, but that, too, will be the wealth of the project for me as a reader.

3) 40 mini reviews. The goal is to do 40 mini reviews on this blog between Dec 5th 2010 and Dec 5th 2011. These reviews will be of poetry books in French or English, Lit magazine issues or may even be close reads or reactions to even a single poem. I want to engage with the work I am reading, but also share here in this ephemeral cyberspace with potential readers of the books and poems I am encountering. Anyone that wants new chapbooks or books read, or magazines read as part of this project, feel free to mail work to me at 24 rue Ste Claire, 68100 Mulhouse, France! I hope to discover new work, to think about transformations--and future(s)!!!

4) 40 aging characters: The goal is to write this year 40 tiny pieces using different "characters" obsessed with age, exploring time, age, aging, agism, youth, midlifeness, generations, perspective on generational change, etc. in fictional or poetic ways. Thus the little texts, which again I will likely post at least half of here, will be Flash fiction / vignettes / prose poems or mini stories. The focus for me is to overobsess about age through these characters, but also to observe and take note of age around me, of time, of the ways it is and is not visible on the bodies of others, and of myself.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Staircase Hall (from the Leighton House poems, summer 2010)

"The Staircase Hall": Poem written in Leighton House Museum, London, July 2010 for the art opening / reading. The poem was written for this space, so I overlayed the image with the text. Click on it to make it more legible if you need to.