news | Wednesday July 6, 2011
Here is an invitation from Sachiko Murakami to join Project Rebuild, a new collaborative poetry project:
Project Rebuild began with a single poem about a Vancouver Special. I was interested in their “ugliness” and the strong reaction Vancouverites have to them. And what about replicating or blueprinting – how can that be played with in poetry? I altered the first poem through mechanical means, and the result of these flash inhabitations was a sameness with subtle differences.
These four poems appear in Rebuild, my upcoming collection, which takes up the project renovation in poetry and considers the tendency of Vancouver, its site of inquiry, to tear down and rebuild every few decades.
But what is a poem but a rental unit of language?
I grew interested in the idea of renovation in language, our brief inhabitations, and was also growing interested in collaboration. I sent the Vancouver Specials to some poets, and invited them to move in as tenants, to paint the walls, change the faucets, knock down whatever walls didn’t fit their visions. These poems became the first houses in Project Rebuild’s neighbourhood.
But the idea of extending the community persisted.
Project Rebuild allows visitors to move in to any poem/house in the neighbourhood. On the page of any poem, click on “renovate” and the poem becomes editable in a textbox. Change the nouns. Throw out the verbs. Bring in the big delete-button bulldozer and start fresh. Your poem will become a new house in the neighbourhood.
Project Rebuild challenges the notion that the poems we write belong to us, that we are anything but temporary residents in the tenement house. Poetry is a community project in which we are all participants: poems are written in context and in conversation. Project Rebuild hopes to extend an invitation to that conversation, to you.
The door is open. Come on in. Read. Write. Renovate.