Archive for February, 2014|Monthly archive page

Call and response: community and collaboration

When T. S. Eliot died, Ezra Pound famously and bitterly quipped:  “Who is there to share a joke with?”

I’ve been in a similar funk for some time now. This sense of acute isolation was recently aggravated by a friend’s lauding the sense of collaborative community she felt working with her publisher. Ironically, this same publisher recently despaired over getting any interesting conversations going given the hermetic nature of most social circles that are too often made up of like-minded, nodding heads.

That’s why it’s  heart-warming and somewhat heartening to escape this dilemma and collaborate by chance. Yesterday, Bruce Rice, a poet I knew when I resided in Saskatchewan, posted a picture of a chickadee feeding from his hand at a writer’s retreat where he’s staying. The picture reminded me of a little ditty from March End Prill, which I shared with him. My lines, in turn, prompted him to compose a pantoum and put the picture, my poem, and his together as a spontaneous, e-broadsheet, which I share here, thankful for the ephemeral community that enabled the collaboration (including the chickadee!).

Chickadee 1; poets O

“the haven from sophistications and contentions”–a translation of George Slobodzian’s “Happy Hour”

Today, I read on Facebook a friend rightfully take to task a new anthology of Canadian poetry for its lack of translations. Later, I read how one poet tweeted squibs over a retrograde and self-indulgent column that riled a friend of the columnist to snark back via his own blog while everyone ignores the column’s sentiment was preemptively taken down by happy synchronicity days before. A poet-publisher laments the roadblocks to conversation and posits turning his back on the futility of finding the like-minded to work it all out in private in his journal instead. Meanwhile, the work goes on, here, a translation, from English to French, of a fine, understated lyric, “Happy Hour”.