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? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Day 250 - quick observation

Just noting that, among various other effects, Project 366 has really altered my perception of the year as passage through time and of where I'm up to in it...
I've never thought of myself as at Day 250 of anything before, let alone the year. But actually it's a commonplace of life to have reached the beginning of September in any given year. Somehow this numbering of the days is quite affirming though. I wonder how others are experiencing it?