Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Third Mind

There's a new essay out in the current issue of Gulf Coast called "The Third Mind: American Collaborative Poetry & Its Roots" by Dean Gorman. The essay examines the history of collaboration, from the Japanese renga to the French Surrealists to the New York School in the 1950s. Most interestingly (at least to me) was the discussion of collaboration in contemporary American poetics and the knee-jerk distrust from some readers of collaborative work concerning the question of authorship. Gorman discusses T.S. Eliot's "Tradition and the Individual Talent" and the role of the artist in submission to the art and the extinction of the personality. He goes on to write:
The romantic concept of the Individual, which survives in Eliot's argument even as he questions it, will probably never go away. Nine out of ten book-flap blurbs will still use the adjective "singular" to describe poetic voice or vision. Yet as we move further into an era of published collaborations from American poets, the idea of ownership should become less and less of a concern for those writing and publishing. Poets will continue to work together to create new forms and hybrid language, and journals and small presses will continue to unabashedly support these projects. I don't expect every meeting of the minds to be historic--far from it. If anything, I harbor some of the same stereotypes about collaborations as those readers, critics and publishers who stand in the way of its mainstream potential. Yet I am optimistic of its future, its viability--its endless experiment.

I recommend picking up an issue of Gulf Coast for the full essay.

Also worth checking out is the current issue of Tin House which has an exquisite corpse by Mary Jo Bang, Nick Flynn, Alex Lemon, Matthea Harvey, Eileen Myles, and D. A. Powell.

No comments:

Post a Comment