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Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Poet Zachary Schomburg was interviewed this week on J P Dancing Bear's weekly poetry radio show, Outofourmind's Posterous on KKUP, which you can listen to right there at the website and which can also be found at iTunes.

One topic they discussed was Schomburg's many collaborations with other poets and the processes which they use to work together (it differs case by case, as it happens). Schomburg mentioned  poet Heather Christle who had told him that her process (when working alone) feels like "self-collaboration," in that she writes a single word, stops, looks around, and then comes back to the poem with a open mind, hoping to write the next word and surprise herself with it. This is the process of deliberately abandoning whatever phrase you were headed toward and trying to come up with something entirely new, word by word. Doesn't it sound like a way to be fascinated by your own process, hanging onto each new word as it comes to you fresh and not as a packaged image?

I had been thinking lately of the pleasure I get out of poems that surprise me, how that seems to be to me one of the hallmarks of the very best poems, so I am interested in trying out this process for myself. I get a rush of joy the times when I do surprise myself while writing, and hope this will increase those moments for me first, and then later (hopefully) for the reader.

You can find the discussion of collaborations at about 38 minutes into the interview, give or take a bit.

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