The deep pleasure that comes from collaboration seems connected to a shared rest and–equally–unrest.
When I think about the hardest part of poetics, making, anything at all–I think about simple contours.Like foundations. Basics. Butter and bread.
One class with Joan Larkin in grad school taught me this: form is necessary. My own rules: it needs practice and shaking.
This is related: Yesterday, I brought over sample truffles (a butter recipe instead of the usual cream to see the difference) to friends expecting a baby (the little baby girl is due TODAY, so I figured pre-baby truffles were necessary). I thought about the inclination toward basics–these were straightforward truffles: exquisitely spare and the exact impression of quality chocolate and attention to detail (no fluff).
I’ve been following Emma’s amazing foundations series on Poire au Chocolat, which values the same adherence to growing from foundations by offering her own foundations series. We aren’t collaborating–she doesn’t even know how helpful she’s been in guiding my own practice–but she’s really taught me that chocolate is best in its simplest way. She’s reminded me about precision.
As a writer, I’ve learned the same lesson (thank Hemingway–I mean, Kat Dixon). Collaborating with Kat Dixon heightens this, makes me have a real and sincere relationship with the foundations of poetry: this girl can give you one word that gives the entire impression of the sentiment she’s trying to say (which is probably what you were trying to say and she beat you to it).
Yup, I’m equating Kat to excellent chocolate.
She uses words like they are degrees: adding them only to slightly alter a shadow or highlight a tonal value. Working with her teaches me that value of specific resonance.
To get romantic, it’s like a lovely summer day when she adds a line to our strange little project. It seems so natural, like she just leapt into the words, the idea, the strong effect that she just offered. I know it’s work–her real willingness to give words to ideas and share and share and share.
Follow Kat. Read her books. Love her like I love her.
Follow Kat on her Goodreads page, her blog, her twitter feed, and her Facebook page. She’s not an equilibrium but she’s a definite direction that hurries away from foggy days and moves in the real chaos of what’s actual.