Saturday, December 31, 2016

Next year

Very much interested in either a Project 365 again or Project 52. The Conversation in Poetry perhaps too. Replying to Kit's post from September. Unable to offer any assistance in running things - too many family commitments at present and study too.
LOVED being part of this - wish we could all get together in person and just yarn around a fire or something - just once... Or at least some of us.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Sarah St Vincent Welch - the experience of Project 366 (Project 365+1)

A friend died in a head-on car crash a year ago. Cathy was a runner, and she was driving home from an event that was a goal for her, that she had planned and trained for, that she exhilarated in completing. She was with her best friend, Helen, and she died too. I cannot yet comprehend it, and probably never will. Like with the deaths of other friends and colleagues, my response eventually was, to just try and live. To do things. Like a great dark clumsy submerged creature asleep, I stirred, listening, what could I do, what could I do?

Just before New Year 2016 Lizz Murphy told me about Project 366, and hell, Kit and Anna were getting it going (friends from Sydney in the 1980s). Why not do it I thought? I had been feeling other calls, having moved from Sydney in the late 80s for study and work, the association and allegiances of that time in Sydney so dear, Poets Union, the workshops of No Regrets, Left and Feminist, and poetry readings in Newtown and Redfern, and I decided, yes, I will try to do this post a day thing, be with these dear people, meet new ones. Me, someone who writes, but doesn’t publish very much, doesn’t send my work out through fear that it’s not good enough, who has mainly written short fiction and an unpublished novel, and part of another, whose prose is poetic, poetry is prosey, who doesn’t know where to try to be with my writing.

Kit suggested I think whether I could manage the post a day thing, and I figured if a photo could count too if no words were there for me that day (which seemed quite possible) I would try.  I have managed to post a poem and image every day. For me to keep producing something however small or light has meant a great deal to me, and to be connected to  other poets and artists, to be part of their day as they are part of mine, has been so good. Over the year I have thought if this participation in Project 366 is the major creative output in my life, then I am happy. I am blessed. And I thank this Project 366 (aka Project 365 + 1) community and especially Kit and Anna and everyone who has done some administering and helping out over the year, everyone who has been so generous with their creativity and friendship.

I wake and the first thing I do is read what is new on the project, and often it is the last thing I do as I go to sleep. Dylan, my husband, has joined recently and I have watched others’ appreciation of his connection with animals and landscapes, and seen him walk and find and wander, finding time in his busy work life, to find and make images. Project 366 is such a good space.

At first I wanted to document all the connections and currents and responses I felt and perceived in all the poems and art, but realised I wouldn’t be able to do a post a day if I did that. I would have loved to have done that.

I feel more legitimacy as a writer through this project. I have become more comfortable with showing pieces in this way. I have attempted new forms for me, sought advice when I didn’t quite get how to make them. I have become interested in rhyme, something I have disdained in the past. I am more attune to my own patterns of creating. I have been doing other creative work, as we all have, along with this project. But Project 366 is a current running through it all, and I have felt to be in great, generous, kind company. I have always wanted to comment and respond and engage more, but am often staggering to the line with my poem at 11.59 pm. Often in awe of others.

In terms of practice I notice I sometimes travel over the same territory again, re-remembering, and I realise that is OK.

The photographic element has surprised me. The ease of using the iphone as a camera, and its unexpected quality, has enabled the image project to travel with me and be something in itself. I have noticed how much I enjoy details and textures, how much I dwell on them whether I am taking a photo, writing a poem, or not. How much joy that observation brings me. Shadows and dreams were what I told Kit 2016 would be about, and it has been, as well as other things. I often turn to my recent catch of images to find inspiration for a poem, match them with the inspiration of others’ poems or art, to see how they might work off each other.

I didn’t want my quick visual capture of images to override what I was trying with words, which is a more laborious process sometimes, more fearful. Then I realised the photos weren’t just an illustration but part of the project, my noticing and capturing and framing in the visual world a parallel journey to the one in language, perhaps the same journey. I am often thinking about the same things, even subliminally, when noticing that potential photo, framing it, or asking for a poem, for words to form.

I admire the groups political poems, and want to find the voice for my own. I go there sometimes, but it wrecks me emotionally, and I have to go back to nature, memory etc to rebalance, to be able to create again the next day.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Disconnect

(And a summing up.)

Not meaning to sound negative for its own sake, but because project 366 was an experiment and so I guess everyone's experience is of interest –

Participating in June was a joyous experience for me. I loved the work I was exposed to and the sense of community. I didn't continue longer although Effie invited me to, because of being busy elsewhere; then regretted that and made noises about rejoining, but they went unheard – and it soon became obvious that I really am so busy elsewhere that it's hard to take on more for very long.

Also I already write nearly every day – often every day – and am very much involved in other online poetic groups and communities, so can get some of the benefits elsewhere. (366 had a more carefree feeling than most, probably because it came with fewer responsibilities, and that was particularly delightful.)

Most of that I've said before, but it's part of the account.

I thought I would continue to read and enjoy the posts, particularly as I arranged to do a little behind-the-scenes admin work. But it didn't turn out that way.

One problem was that I had huge internet access problems for a number of weeks, which took time, effort and persistence to sort out. I think, also, not being part of the daily interactions resulted in a gradual distancing.

I want to come back and read things in December, when I expect a bit more free time; and I do hope Project 366 will remain online as an archive, regardless of the creation of an anthology.

I like the idea of an anthology, and will of course hope to be included.

I like the idea of a Project 52. I like the idea of a 'Conversation in Poetry'. And even of a new Project 365. And earlier on I was declaring myself 'in' for such future endeavours. But now I'm reneging. I'm involved in more than enough writing, editing and publishing commitments to be going on with. Sorry!

 I wonder what happened to others who participated for a month only. Do they miss it? (I do, but not enough any more – though at first exceedingly.) Or are they so busy with other things that it is largely forgotten? What do they feel they got out of it? (I have already indicated what I did – joy, delight, a strong sense of community – and yes, an experience of being in a poetic conversation, though not as directly and overtly as Kit seems to have had in mind.)

I also wonder what the experience has been for those involved for the whole year?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Kit Kelen - record keepin -- filing all yr own stuff for future reference

can I please encourage everyone to keep the best record possible of your own work ... however yr creating it ... can I also suggest the metablog is probably the best place for more detailed discussions of all of these things... this conversation thingy here is limited, unreliable and liable to disappear!
... it's important to keep yr own records because the finder in the blog is so diabolically crappy ... and my hunch is that when we start collecting for the anthology we will start by asking people to send their own selections of their best few pieces ... so yll need to have yr files about you in order to do that!....
just sayin'

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Kit Kelen - Projects for 2017

Projects for 2017

With November off to a flying start, I would like to again canvass the possible projects for 2017. I'm hoping someone (or a group of people) will take the reins for a new Project 365 for next year, but there have been no solid offers so far. Also I'm looking for people who are interested to be on the editorial board for the Project 366 anthology I hope we'll be putting together. If you're interested in that or in participating in Project 52 or A Conversation in Poetry, but haven't told me yet, could you please send me a private message. Project 52 and A Conversation in Poetry, are the two projects I'm planning to run next year, but I don't want to bore those who are not interested with organisational details about them. I think the 366 anthology is something we really ought to do but it will only work if we can have a group of people willing to put in the hard yakka in terms of editing, designing and also fundraising.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Kit Kelen - foreshadowing discussions about next steps and next projects

Dear all,
                I'm going to make this super-brief because I know people don't have time to read anything that isn't.

I want to suggest the options for next steps/projects that spring to mind to me as of now

Project 365 
I won't be running this, but it would simply be a project for next year along the lines of 366, augmented as those participating see fit.

Project 52
The idea here would be weekly posts, from a group of people interested in developing materials out of 366 - possibly for book m/ss. I'm not sure how public/private it ought to be or what kinds of feedback system ought to be a part of it. I guess participants might nominate the kind of feedback they're looking for.

On-Screen Poetry Slam 
People write poems for pictures as they appear, in a time-limited, though not necessarily competitive effort to match the visual work with words. This could be of interest to people who are interested in more conventional slams.

A Conversation in Poetry 
No time-limits, no need for daily posting, but every work is a response to a specific previously posted work (or possibly more than one work). I'm not sure how it starts!

Of most interest to me personally are The Conversation in Poetry and Project 52.

But what do people think?

And also to remind people that we need to think about the 366 anthology issue for when the shutters come down on this one (which I frankly think is more likely to be in January or February 17, rather than December 16).

I hope we can discuss these things on the meta-blog (rather than on the message thread)!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Mikaela Castledine - Of Size and Shape

Today, after the various cuttings and pasting I do - from Word where I jot down and rework, to Onenote where I catalogue and date, to Blogger where I post, I found my poem had changed font and size of its very own accord. It made me think about the way we present our poems on the blog.

I am married to a graphic designer (28 years tomorrow!) and some of the intricacies of type selection have necessarily rubbed off, but mostly I am after a clean non interfering font that lets the poem do its work. Back when the now ubiquitous computer didn't exist I would always laboriously type up my poems when I felt they were finished as I could erase all the chatter of my handwriting and let them stand clear of me. I have always found there is a finality to typesetting a poem which makes it harder to rework and at the beginning of this project I was concerned about typing and essentially publishing drafts in case they refused to be changed later.

On the blog I often look at Kit’s sometimes choice of sepia type and Beatrice’s French and English red and purpleish blue and wonder how I am being affected by their use of colour. Also Robbie V’s spacing in, for example ‘sugar dumbs down’ which feels quite deliberately stressful in its crowding. Lesley Boland’s enormous letters make me quite fearful of their monstrosity and sometime I don't want to read the poems as they look as though they will be strident and unsubtle - though when you read them you find they are not.

I am wondering if there is any conversation to be had about this important part of our poetry writing.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Béatrice Machet, September the 21rst, south of France-- to pick people up in an endless journey

Dear all, 

Sorry I’ve been very busy with visitors and poetry projects in France, so I might have missed posting a poem each day, … in English, …. Which is a challenge as I’m following another demanding daily writing practice in French! It’s like I’ve got two lives at the same time, one in French and one in English!

Anyway and considering I’m still wanting to continue this project, count me in the next project 365, or 52 depending on how things happen.

Now responding to Kit’s questions:

What does it mean to show our working like this to the world? What does it mean to the world? And what does it mean to us?

Sometimes I feel living is like walking on quicksand and to show our working is like saying : writing is somewhat testifying that to go through life is like walking on quicksand. Sometimes I’m more assertive and to show our working is saying to people: hey, you too, be creative, enjoy writing-painting or shooting photographs, take the plunge and have fun. Dare and share!

What does it mean to be an artist or poet and not do it every day/not show it to the world every day? Is there something extreme about what we're doing? Is there a politics of this? A psychology/sociology? Were we just born this way? What are we about?
Well, it merely means I have no other choice to feel good, “bonne qu’à ça” (this is all I’m good for) as Beckett would have answered! Being, thinking, living as an artist, connected to creativity, improvisation, sharing, exchanges etc, is my way to feel some kind of fulfilment and joy, to feel I’m fully human. ( But it doesn’t mean I need to be on stage or admired and applauded, not at all! It means I’m on my way and having a “quest of vision” to reach my true self) And yes there is something extreme about and into it! Because it means pushing some limits, it means asking questions all the time, it means being demanding towards yourself and accepting some kind of “insecurity”, as Pesoa would have put it: l’inquiétude, the state of mind when you feel concerned, un-quiet, (not exactly worried in its French or Portuguese meaning). It means to “explore”, to take risks, not physical risks per se, (even though sometimes when performing you do take physical risks and you have fun!) but it means to risk your mind, your sense of identity, of belonging, and even the sense of being someone.  Sure there is a politics of this ( and a sense of  discipline as well) and to my eyes, somehow,  it’s related to a psychological/sociological personality profile, which seems to be having the will to make as many experiences as possible, to keep your heart open, to pay attention and be aware of the little tiny things (considered as nothing, unimportant) that happen just next to you, to build bridges between disciplines and people,  to feel yourself involved in an endless journey, to pick people up in an endless journey  to work so as to gain integrity and honesty and sincerity in every aspect of your  life …. Were we born this way? It’s hard to tell and harder to believe! Since we know the main importance of environments, education, people you meet, childhood experiences etc etc… nevertheless I would easily assert that a big seed of curiosity and the capacity to live intensely are required. What are we about ...??? Well in my mind and the way I look at it, from my utopist perspective, it connects the dots between art and politics! We are about to build an egalitarian community, (if not society), because we are widening our minds to what it could mean to be human, to be alive. We are shifting from one cultural reference to the other so as to be able to look at the world without being protected behind any shield, any cliché … we are about to reach some universal knowledge and wisdom which is different from being labeled as “scholars” (learned, savants, experts etc) … and we do it together, wanting to be in tune, and it’s just wonderful! ( I just sometimes feel frustrated to have little time to completely devote myself to it!)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Why were you interested in joining Project 366, and how did you see it relating to your art practice before you got involved?

I was invited by Anna, and to be honest the project (together with the participating writers) was a complete cipher to me. I simply jumped in thinking it would be a lot of fun, and I also thought it would give me a chance to hone my poetry. More than anything I was looking forward to the process. Initially, I thought I would participate for a month. It is inexplicable to me that I'm still here, despite some time off for illness, and deaths. I'm certain now, in a way that is new to me, that I'll be writing more frequently, forever. As a former academic, I've never thought of poetry as therapeutic however, there is something about having one's work recognised by fellow poets on a daily basis, warts and all, that is energising, even liberating. Recently, however, events have overtaken me, and I've had to consider seriously dropping out. But I simply can't leave. I'm voting with my feet to stay. It's a brilliantly conceived project. I'm personally grateful for it.

 Do you think others in the project have influenced you / affected your ways of working or your subject matter? Do you think there's what you could call a learning process going on through the project? If so, could you describe that?
Stylistically, certainly. My use (and abuse) of compressed forms like the haiku and senryu now informs the way I construct lines and images,  particularly in my longer poems. The occasional insightful comment goes a long way too. I pay close attention to everything posted on the blog. In addition, using images as part of a text is something I'd never done before, and now love to do.

 How have you found the cultural diversity in the project so far? Has this had any effect on you? Do you think things could be different / better in this regard?

More is needed, always. I've tried to rope in a number of writers from different backgrounds, but the daily deadline is daunting for them. I haven't given up.

 How has participation in Project 366 affected your sense of yourself as an art practitioner?
I now call myself a poet without feeling like a fraud - something which affects many of us, it seems. Like others, I have to be writing actively in order to feel comfortable in asserting this. Publishing drafts on a daily basis here is a way of enabling that sense of self identification - so necessary, I think, if you want to keep writing with enthusiasm. It helps immensely to have a sense of being read by others who understand the pressures of time etc.  To know that your work is being read is at the heart of writing here, for me. Comments are a bonus, too. The community is tremendously supportive. I know some of my poems have benefited from other's readings, and not just of my own poetry. I've learnt a lot about what makes a poem interesting to other poets. That doesn't necessarily change my approach, however. It's an observation. 

On the topic of the future for the project - I hope that a collection of our work can be published. I'm all for individual collections as well. Online publishing is ideal as it would save on printing costs. Alternatively, we could consider crowd funding the publishing of the project's anthology/ies if we decide to go the route of traditional hard copies. Why not?