Are there other areas where poets are collaborating that particularly interest or excite you?
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It interests me that some collaborations are well established, that when a poet and composer come together everyone is clear about what happens. The issue always is how you get beyond the perception that one art form is illustrating the other. Either the poems are in the gallery stuck up almost as explanations of the paintings, or the drawings or paintings are published in a book and look like illustrations of the poem. The idea that two come together and make something greater than the sum of the parts is always there when musicians work with poets.
We ran an article in Poetry News about the work animators have done with poems. Animation and film offer some very interesting possibilities, though in my time as a documentary film-maker at the BBC I had colleagues who worked with poems and again, it proved hard not to replicate or somehow illustrate the imagery in the poetry. A possibility might be that we focus on particular moments, when a man or woman sees a man or woman and that spark happens — Dante-Beatrice moments. She might design what might be being worn at that moment and that might then culminate in a performance of some sort.
So, do you get to a lot of fashion shows? New world to me! The designer came to a reading I was giving in Edinburgh and said she wanted to collaborate. I looked into her work and I liked it very much. And public art projects? Sometimes the simpler the visual presentation of a poem, the better.
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It gets more complicated when you talk about a sculptor because the sculptor has a vision. How does that work with the vision of the poet and how is the one imprinted on the other? Are you naturally collaborative in a way that some poets are not? Most poets I know are open to it.
My experience is that most poets like those accidents when they come up, and seize the moment. I think there may be limits — I have never collaborated on a poem, working within the fabric with another poet. Have your collaborations meant you produced a different kind of poetry? Certainly the work I write for James MacMillan is particular and for him. James likes a particularly dense, rich, compacted poetic line, which is the opposite of what most composers want. Most poets who have worked with composers say that the composer asked them to thin out the line so that the music could flourish. If for some reason your order has not arrived within 14 days please get in contact with us so that we can help you.
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