Search This Blog

Thursday, August 8, 2013

One-Way Collaboration

I've been thinking a lot about collaboration recently, first inspired by Black Tongue Review, an online journal of collaboration between poets and visual artists. Happily an artist friend recently invited me to collaborate with her in just this manner, so we are just getting started in that endeavor, and I'm really excited about it.

Collaboration is something I've been interested in trying, but haven't had anyone to ask (or haven't really had enough nerve to ask, to be more honest), so I was delighted to be invited by someone else.  In the meantime, I've noticed that for the person who wants to try collaboration but has some reason to hesitate, there are opportunities for one-sided collaborations, which can serve as training grounds, confidence boosters, and ways to see if collaboration would be something you would be interested in, without the risk of disappointing a partner, or being disappointed by a partner, or being unhappy with loss of total control over the creative process. Ideas for one-sided collaborations include responding to someone else's work, as in ekphrastic poetry, or working with someone else's prompt. These one-way collaborations don't have the give-and-take and interaction of the true collaboration, but as an experiment, they can be a good way to see if working with another artist might be something you are truly interested in.

Here are a few opportunities for one-way collaboration:

1) Submit to Black Tongue Review. You submit an already completed poem and they find an artist to respond to it. I'm not sure if the artist will contact you for any real collaboration or discussion, but if not, just noting your response to someone else's visual interpretation of your poem might tell you if you would be keen to do a two-way collaboration with someone else.

2) 3Elements Review is now accepting submissions for their inaugural issue. All submissions must include three elements. This issue's three elements are: "processions, tandem bicycle, ache". Try writing something for this review, thereby sort of collaborating with the editors and more distantly with any other writer whose work will be featured in the issue. Accepting someone else's constraint is a tiny non-invasive collaboration, a good baby step for someone venturing into this arena. (Thanks to CRWOPPS-B for the heads-up on this new journal.)

3) Although it's too late to join this year, another one-and-a-half-sided collaboration is the August Poetry Postcard Fest (I should have told you about this earlier, but almost didn't get in myself, as another blogger's last minute reminder is what got me in just under the wire of the deadline this year). In this project, you send a postcard with an original poem responding to the postcard image to 31 people (one a day for the month of August) and receive such postcards from 31 people. That's how it goes to being one-and-a-half-sided, by also receiving postcards and poems which may influence the ones you send out after that. In the past, this project has emphasized trying to respond to poems you receive in the next ones sent out; I didn't see anything about that in the guidelines this year, but it can be an inevitable result for certain kinds of writers, and if you are interested in dipping your toe into the collaboration pool, you could constrain yourself to having to respond to a received postcard in the next one you send out, thereby invoking a less-than-two-sided collaboration.

It's too late to do this project this year, but you could organize and exchange of postcards with a poet friend or friends on your own, or you could simply write consciously in response to others' work as a tiny foray into the area of collaboration

4) Erasure is another one-way collaboration idea, working with someone else's text and erasing it into your own. Any kind of work beginning with someone else's text and/or art can be thought of as one-way collaboration, a groundbreaking way to progress towards more traditional collaboration.

No comments: