Reading Factorial this morning on the train I wondered – as I did for issue one – how these collaborations work. It’s certainly fun to read through the work and try to work out what method, if any, the writers used; how each artist responded to the others work/prompts. Some, like the opening “unscripted behaviors” , seem to be fairly transparent. The first poem:






______________________________________________________ Jasmine, the hose fire, “When you go to your home by the ocean,” said the songs. The shadow’s leaking again. THEN you have to come back. Have a nice life she said. In answer to your question, it was to be an ambidextrous text. Here I would hazard that the first Jasmine terrace-like cue set off the “Jasmine” of the response (or is Jasmine a name?). And then the writer, I don’t know who, struts off of the other prompts in the text. “Fire” ,to me, links with “dry/night”; “ocean” with “wet”. Then she reacts to the opposites in the short top poem (wet/dry) with coming back, returning from the ocean and bidding it farewell. As she says, it was to be ambidextrous. Perhaps I’ve got it all wrong, but I’m having fun speculating. I mentioned yesterday, that I didn’t like one piece. It was, I’ll be honest, the “Whalebone Essays Volume 3” by, among others Noah Gordon and Eric Baus. I’m not sure why they chose the title, perhaps something to do with sifting or separating? The poem feels very cut-up, as though they had spent quite some time piecing together lines in some manner or other (well, don’t we all though?). There are some good lines in the poem, there are also some quite bad ones like “dreaming of the spaces between words”, but why I don’t like it? I’ll be honest, I just don’t know. I like long poems, but after page 3 I wanted this one to stop. Perhaps its not quite boring or exciting enough to keep me reading on?? I don’t know. Anyway, I brought this poem up because I am curious about the construction of the “Whalebone Essays vol. 3. The poem traverses 11 pages and each page sometimes has a distinct feel, or sense of containment. Off the top of my head, there were about two pages in which “ha ha ha” appeared and then there was one quite nice page that started with something like “ My babies swim in the sea” in which there was an obvious kind of mirroring going on with certain words and phrases (actually, I like this page a lot). So conjecture 1 is that each member of the collaboration wrote one page (but then what about the 11th page?) .. but I haven't found the link. Conjecture 2 is that because the lines have quite a cut up feel about them (they really remind me of the Tzara-esque words in a hat games I used to play with my little sister), each member had a poem that was ‘gutted’ so to speak, words taken out, and then replaced with others. I don't think there is a full cut up going on because there is a little too much cohesion. That’s all I’ve got time for today.

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