Friday, May 30, 2014

Galanis-Calderaro: Collaboration

Our collaboration began in Puerto Rico in July 2013
when we met at the Walking Seminar. Two days into it —— out of a 3-week long walk in the island
—— we decided to write a series of haikus together yet alone, as individual, then combined, responses to the landscapes we were walking in. We gave each other the task of writing either the first and third lines, or the second line, in sets of twelve, without sharing the results with each other; then reversed the distribution of task, up to 72 sets total. The last day in San Juan we sat down and finally shared the lines worked in this sort of blindness, combining them into final haikus. 

Part I is a selection of those first haikus created while walking in synchronicity.

Part II is a selection of haikus utilizing the same process once we were separate in different places after the Puerto Rican seminar. It is a remote collaboration that reflects the distance and the time lapses experienced a few months into separate realities. 


some nights, i recall
leaves will keep their energy
death - we were once friends
taken from behind
a foreign tongue tastes like sex
capital, debt, law
We swam, we swam - then
aviones en el cielo
the phone stopped ringing
And then came the drought
walk slowly yet go, endless
the Jews of Madrid
careful, it might die
generosidad verde
books are funerals
give me more music
his orgasm was her Why
for my bones to hear


brain body skin flow

a dog curled up on the road 
mareao adrift floats

amor residual

fish explode like shooting stars 
amor sin red, sin 

VII path with no return 
water - all my relations 
sadness of the word

sleep naked, my love

at the airport, remove shoes 
no need for trophies 

thunder - lights go out 
fuck hernan cortes

evidence the odd

us, at night, swimming, laughing 
post humanizar 

Bibi Calderaro
Christos Galanis

Today, the light

Today, the light bleaches edges causing outlines to bleed, and what is considered 'inside' to inverse.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

David Arnold: Two Poems


walk swiftly through these
outsourcing calories
    is ecstasy through slow burn

may slip on tree root --
take out a whole chunk
& come to in blissful
accommodation with the world


        This mind
in tilt
            flings out
    a foot            beneath
a knee

Self promenades - in groups -
    its other selves to see -

walks out,    bereft
            or blithe

Describe a path
from 'Fisherman's Wharf' to 'Orford Quay'

Can limbs combine with history

Today, the light

Today, the light makes us see red.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Marlene Creates (excerpt)

Marlene Creates is an environmental artist and poet who lives and works in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland, Canada. This conversation took place via e-mail, May 2014. The complete conversation can be found at Atlas Place.

Bach: With your in situ poetry walks in The Boreal Poetry Garden, how do you choose your collaborators? What connections are there between this performative work and other more active participatory works in your oeuvre (The Distance Between Two Points is Measured in Memories)? Or works by other artists that may have inspired these cross-disciplinary collaborations?

Creates: I choose my collaborators from either knowing them personally, knowing their expertise (or both), or thinking of something that I myself would like to hear or see happen in The Boreal Poetry Garden or learn about its ecosystem. Then I look for someone who can fulfill that wish. My collaborators have ranged from experts in the sciences (boreal ecology, local geology and wildlife) to other art forms (literature, music, dance).

I'd like to mention that starting the in situ poetry walks was a practical solution to a simple problem, and they have become a major artistic, collaborative, environmental, and social endeavour. This is how it happened: I had been composing short, haiku-like poems, handwriting them on small cards, installing them in the spot that the words refer to, and then photographing them.  But a problem arose when some of my poems became too lengthy to write on small cards. So it occurred to me that the solution was to read the poems out loud to people in situ. In 2005 I started inviting people to the site to go on a poetry walk, and I've held several of these events every summer since.  I believe there's an aesthetic dimension to simple, practical solutions, and over the years I've found this to be very helpful, more economical and, increasingly, ecological.

I've never really thought about any connection between the current collaborators in The Boreal Poetry Garden and the people who drew the memory maps for me in the late 1980s. Thank you for asking about that, because it gives me the chance to see how both undertakings embrace and delight in what other people know, say, and do. In all cases, the collaborations are based on the fact that I don't work from my imagination. That's because what other people contribute is better than anything I could make up. The branch of philosophy with which I identify is Phenomenology, and I try to operate within that mode when approaching both the external world and other people.

Regarding work by other artists, until recently I've felt quite on my own. But thanks to the very digital communication systems that have made our experiences of the world so mediated, there are several online networks that I participate in, such as the Walking Artists Network, the Women Environmental Artists Directory (WEAD), the Ecoart Network, the Performance and Ecology listserv, the Place Location Context and Environment (PLaCE) Research Centre, and the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada (ALECC) that are a source of inspiration, critical exchange, and confirmation, as well as hope. I'm starting to feel that there is a very active critical mass of people out there with whom I am in accord, and that certainly includes you, Glenn Bach.

Bach: Describe your collaboration with Elizabeth Zetlin and Jedediah Baker on A Virtual Walk of the Boreal Poetry Garden. The site is technically sophisticated, and a video-poem like River of Rain is substantially more nuanced with its layers of texts, images, and sounds than any separate treatment could have been. I imagine that this outcome was shaped by the specific perspectives that your collaborators brought to the project.

Creates: Elizabeth Zetlin (Ontario) is the artist and poet who introduced me to video-poetry; Jedediah Baker (St. John's) had done a locative internet project linking short videos of personal stories –– his own, as well as other people's –– about New York City to a Google map. (I wanted to use an aerial photograph, not a map, and I was able to get a very high resolution one from the provincial Department of Environment & Conservation.) I conceived of the virtual walk from what I had learned from both of them, and then they helped me achieve it.

River of Rain is the most complex video-poem I've done and I'm pleased you noticed it. By using a combination of images, my voice, and text, I tried to convey the ability of human consciousness to be in two places at once: both perceiving the exterior world that's right in front of us and generating a medley of interior thoughts (which are represented by text over stills, and include my memories of things other people had said). The concluding montage gestures towards the relationship between language and landscape. The human voice –– starting with meaning and ending with murmur –– replaces the sound of the river.

Bach: Earlier you state that one of the reasons for honing in on a slow engagement with one particular place is because of the preponderance of technology as mediator, yet A Virtual Walk of The Boreal Poetry Garden is one such interface. Could you talk about the contrast between the immediate, haptic, and intimately personal experience of walking the boreal forest and the virtual interface of its documentation? Perhaps this is an issue with the work of all land artists: what is the work, the original experience or the presentation of it (Richard Long's walk scores, or Andy Goldsworthy's, and your own, photographs of transitory interventions in the landscape)?

Creates: The proliferation of digital geographical technologies –– including Google Earth, tracking devices, and satellite navigation systems (such as GPS) –– have revolutionised our geo-spatial positioning in both our everyday places and remote spaces. Several years ago I even considered creating GPS-triggered smartphone recordings of my site-specific poems. I also toyed with the idea of installing weatherproof solar-powered audio players in the forest that would play recordings of my poems for visitors. As my goals have become clearer, these ideas now seem very counter-productive. But at the time I felt it was the kind of whizbang thing that could help me receive the support of an arts grant. I still think it would be a lot easier to spark interest for a grant by proposing a project using new technology than saying that what I'm going to do is simply stand at certain spots in the forest and read my poems out loud to people. It's hard to get across the multi-sensorial dimensions of these poetry walks, and the ripple effects from the social interactions that occur.

It turns out that people love going on a walk through the forest and having someone read poems to them. The events in The Boreal Poetry Garden are completely booked up every summer, and some people come back year after year.

You've put your finger on the paradox of A Virtual Walk of The Boreal Poetry Garden. I made it because the number of people who can actually come to the site in Newfoundland is fairly limited. Also because I love video-poetry (it's a perfect genre for someone like me –– a visual artist who loves language). Unfortunately, the Virtual Walk does lack the kinaesthetic, sensorial aspects of a real walk, as well as the power of people being together. And, by the way, I did receive a grant to produce it.


Full conversation can be found at Atlas Place.

Today, the light

Today, the light highlighted dust cascades in bright shafts across the perturbed air. This microspeckle choreography twinkled as tiny glowworms glinting on a fairy queen's crown.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Today, the light

Today, the light is a subcutaneous air pocket, dislodged and gyrating through murky liquid to an oil-slicked surface.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Richard Louis Ray: City Poem, December 15th, 2013

City Poem, December 15th, 2013


The city stomps and it chomps
and it asks you:

what do you want to eat,
what does it take to eat you,
what do you make
of the taste
of eating and being eaten?

After all this eating
and shitting
and watching where you step
and waking up God knows where,

what are you, what feel you,
whose load can you
lighten today?

Along the rooftops
and entryways
the aging latticework
and cornices
sag through the cobwebs
of my awareness
and I feel their weight
as though the lives
of the masons
and ironworkers
were falling down
through my shoulders,
pinning my feet
to the earth
where they turn
and lift my gaze up, up—

see what we left
for your enjoyment!


My awareness
where the sense
of ownership


hand to hand

it dissolves

as it should

be wary of shoulds

they come

the heart

the throat.

Today, the light

Today, the light knows exactly whence it comes from, and whither it is going.