For Collaboration

Coming out. Letting everyone know who I am and where I stand. I’m a lesbian, I’m used to it.

Interestingly, we poets also have to come out over and over. We have to admit that we’re *ghasp* confessional poets, un-published, published, poets who write about xyorz, blogging poets, pen and paper poets, slam poets. The list goes on and on.

Most of the time, people think that these categories are pretty cool, or they are complacent. And then I say, I really like collaborative poetry. For those of you who have not seen it, I am a member of We write together, draft together, and make sweet sweet poetry love together.

I have been asked, “do you just like things to be really hard?” I have been told, “I like that, but I’m just too much of a control freak.” I’ve been told that it’s just playing, that it can’t say anything important, that it can’t be really really good.

This is why I participate in collaborative poetry:

1. I believe poetry is about community.
True, poetry is often thought of as a poet who is like a lecturer to the masses. Or even as a group of poets who all write their own works and share ideas or theories about the world. Collaborative poetry takes the community part of poetry as an art and expands it to where more than one poets share ownership of the words, the lines, the work of creating the poem itself. I believe that this community approach to the art makes for stronger, more multi-faceted work.

2. I believe that collaboration makes me a stronger poet.
I let go, I learn to roll with new ideas, I learn new ways of writing. I learn these because I am forced to create alongside another artist. I see how they work in a very intimate fashion. It is like marriage, or at least co-habitiation.

3. I believe it opens up the process to the audience.
the finished poem is beautiful. But so is the messy process of making that art. That is why I post all of my first drafts here. I need to start posting more final drafts. I want you to see where we start, where we go, and how we get there. Every stage of a poem is beautiful, wonderful thing. I guess it’s the art equivalent of those women who love to show you tapes of their home births. I’m the poetry equivalent of that.

These are just some of the reasons I collaborate. I am learning to be a better, more commited, more entusiastic poet every day thanks to the new hold that collaboration has allowed for me, so scoff if you want, it’s offically my thing. Well, mine and eight to nine other people who I do it with. Yay for poetry poly-amory.


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11 responses to “For Collaboration

  1. Yes, yay for poetry poly-amory (I think we need to rename ourselves the poetry poly-amorists!). Really cool post, you. And I love the new banner.

  2. Pingback: » Blog Archive » great piece by our very own slynne on why she collaborates

  3. This is beautiful. I linked to it from ThePoCo. Is that A-OK?

    Interesting that you use the word “intimate.” I’ve been saying that over and over since ThePoCo was revived and went public. I, too, believe writing collaboratively is a very intimate process.

  4. Well done, Slynne, it’s cathartic to release these thoughts and feelings, especially when they come from a place of inner truth.

    I love the photo on your header, very evocative, of a mystery, yes, a mystery.

  5. Thanks, my friends. It is something I’ve been meaning to write. As a matter of fact, I wrote it because I thought it was an assignment we all had forever and forever ago.

    I do find the process really intimate. And, especially on poems like the one you and I wrote together, Dana, where the whole back convo while writing is on display, I think it is educational and compelling for readers to be exposed ti the process.

    As for my new header, its a slice of the photo I use on myspace. For those of us who know me on facebook, such a calm photo of me is probably jolting by more than a little.

  6. Right on! I agree with Jo, poetry poly-amorists — I want that on a shirt.

  7. Deb

    Me, too. I want the shirt.

    Great essay (and inspiration for me to dust mine off)…this is powerful stuff.

  8. Hey, maybe we could have that as our strapline along with the logo on our poco tees? Oh yes, me wanting one, NOW! I wish I had time to get one before I go off on my course next week.

  9. I’ve never heard of collaborative poetry. Thanks for the link, I’ll check it.
    I enjoy your words. It would be great if you would post final drafts.
    And good for you for coming out.

  10. I really want a shirt, too.

    Collaboration is the macaroni to my cheese.

  11. outing myself as the self-professed “control freak” S. mentioned in her post….

    seriously though, I love what you all do with the collaborative poetry. you come up with some great stuff, and (like S. said) reading the back and forth comments from your process is very enlightening, not to mention entertaining.

    kudos to all you collaborative poets!

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