Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Weak Wood

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So a suite of found poems called "Weak Wood" was published on the Our Teeth blog.

Run by poet/parent/prof kevin mcpherson eckhoff, Our Teeth has the following mandate: "converses with/about/around/within/underneath/beside/without contemporary verses, diverses, perverses!"

While I don't usually co-mingle with experimental poets, kevin and I recognize each other as poets. Which is more than enough for us to be able to work with and also alongside each other.

But when Kevin asked that I submit something months ago, I was swamped. So I put it off and put it off and then, finally, had a look at current work to see if there was anything I could send.

And I had this suite of poems I'd composed while at the Deep Bay Cabin back in June/July, based on my reading of Donald Culross Peattie's A Natural History of North American Trees.

At the time, I was trying to learn more about the 24 species of trees that are native to Manitoba. I was also trying to jam some names for the coniferous trees that surrounded the cabin into my head. After a few sessions with A Natural History of North American Trees, I was most struck by the contrast between Peattie's lyrical writing about the beauty of trees and his listing of their uses by the lumber industry.

Of course, I gravitated towards the trees that were categorized by lumberjacks as useless—i.e. weak wood. First, because the useless trees  happen to be among my favourites, and second, because I realized that I am usually surrounded by copy paper, particle board, and MDF.

Basically, I pulped Peattie's mini-essays and built strange little structures—found poems—out of them.

It was great fun but the poems weren't successful, to my mind, until kevin had a look. He helped me push them further that I could have done on my own.

It reminded me, again, why working with editors is so essential to  writing. The best editors don't say "THIS IS WRONG. DO IT THIS WAY," they say "Hmm. Have you thought about this? This section here is especially intriguing...."

So: new poems from me, about trees. Also: submit to Our Teeth, because that kevin is a good nut.

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