Poem Songs with Eric Des Marais
I’ve collaborated with the musician Eric Des Marais on an eclectic album of “poem songs,” poetry readings set to music, titled Distance Grows in the Bones. More than just spoken word over incidental music, it is a deep collaboration in which the nuances of voice and meaning informed every step of the creation of the music. The songs, which range in style from jazz to bossa nova to electronica to dubstep and more, were created from the Postcard series in Dangerous Goods. Eric and I met 20 years ago in college in Athens, Georgia, where Eric played guitar in Swoon 19, an Athens favorite in the mid 90s. He has been composing electronic music since the late 1990s and is currently playing with treeFungus, a Denver electronic music collaboration with Alexa Jones-Gonzales of Partition 36. This is our first collaboration, and we’re calling this project The SHED Collective.
In 2014 the folks at MotionPoems selected my poem, “Postcard to My Third Crush Today,” to be adapted into a short film by Sam Hoolihan.
In 2014 local composer/performer Julie Johnson and New York-based director/film designer D.J. Mendel presented “This Middle Place,” an original multimedia show that included the work of four Minnesota visual artists and writers—Patrick Kemal Pryor, David Sollie, Cheri Johnson, and me—in Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, MN.
In pieces written expressly for the show, Johnson created music that was not simply inspired by another work, but harmonized with, played off of, a piece of visual or literary art that was transformed, by the direction and filmwork of Mendel, into a live performance version of itself. “This Middle Place,” a line from my poem “Bemidji in Spring,” is the space where two pieces come together, each offering its own distinct features to a kind of duet. Supported by a 2014 Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the show featured Johnson on amplified flute, bass flute, stompbox, and live looping pedals, a live performance by actor Candy Simmons, as well as recorded performances by some of the artists.
Multimedia Literary Project
In 2009 and 2010 I curated and edited 33 weeks of the “A Natural History of My _________________” series, which features writing by Jill McDonough, Alicia Jo Rabins, Danielle Evans, Allen Gee, Christopher Stackhouse, Camille Dungy, and 27 others on The Owls site. The Owls, which closed in 2012, was designed for creative web projects. The projects were editorially independent and appeared according to the whims of various writers, artists, editors, and curators.
Interview with Camille Dungy
An interview I conducted with Camille Dungy, author of What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison, appears in Boxcar Poetry Review, Issue 9, July 2007.
In 2006 after the editors at Broadsided Press selected my poem “Insurance Man 1946,” they passed it along to their group of artists for illustrating. Jim Benning, an Anchorage-based artist, chose it. He created a striking broadside of the poem that’s a PDF that can be printed by any printer on a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper. It was reprinted by Broadsided Press on September 1, 2006. Print out copies of it and other broadsides on the Broadsided website. Share them with your friends, or hang them somewhere, anywhere, everywhere.
In 2001 after the editors of Born Magazine accepted my poem, “The Schizophenic Tenant,” they paired me with London-based multi-media artist Steve Keane. This animated poem is the product of our long-distance collaboration. Born Magazine closed in 2011.
This is from the website: “From 1996 until its retirement in 2011, Born connected over 900 contributors, generating an extraordinary record of collaboration between literary arts and multimedia. Born was launched during the fledgling days of the internet, and became one of the Web’s most innovative and enduring publications as it expanded possibilities for literary/arts in a time of rapidly evolving technologies.”