(Quote form the magazine introduction.)
Magma Poetry 78: 'Collaborations'
16 April 2021 pp 1-25, 17 April 2021 pp 26-41 & 69-72
Collaborations in poetry? The whole concept of this was quiet alien to me, for what more solitary pursuit can there be than writing poetry? It is surprising what prejudices came tumbling out of me. Surely there was a dominant leader of the poem who was the real writer and the other/s just went along with that person's decisions? Surely the collaborators just talked themselves into liking what they had written in a collective delusional, over-optimistic mutual agreement club - when actually it was awful? Surely one person was just trying to get the other person to like them and is either 1) showing off, or 2) bigging up the other's contribution?
Where did all that come from? Obviously I had not seen the idea before and it was challenging my pre-conceptions as every new idea should. Holding on to my prejudices I even felt a little short changed that I did not always know which poet wrote which bit of poetry; I wanted to know this all of a sudden, even though I had no previous knowledge off the poets, and surely, in a collaboration, the point was it didn't matter.
'It doesn't matter ??? Tell that to Paul McCartney', I thought. Then realised I was being an idiot and started enjoying the poetry.
The turning point (and not to take away from the earlier poems) was 'knee to knee' by Elvrie Roberts & Rachel Goodman, which (and I am helped out with the description here) examined 'the grammar of being a woman'. There are after all two knees, and they work best when they work together.
'we are two knees (knee shape) as grain in rock (knee shape) we write'
I don't know how to recreate the knee shape on my keyboard - its like a broad upside down 'U'.
I ended up Googling 'lagidj gig languga' it didn't even Googlewhack! Excellent. It is a very playful, serious, and inventive poem, that pulled me out of grumpiness about the form.
The foreboding atmosphere of 'Un diálogo con Lorca' by Karen Poopy and Octavio Quintanilla with its use of interpretation of translation and retranslation was offset a little for me (being a man of my age) by thoughts of how Nana Mouskouri used to create deeper meanings to her songs by offering translations as she went, does that mean I find it cheesy? Maybe it is a form of presentation I have seen parodied too many times to take it as seriously as intended.
My absolute favourite of the two days bunch was 'DOAST FRIEND' where Prabhu S Guptara & Jonathan Kay write in a picture poem using words in their own Kauravi and Lancashire dialects. Having first seen the Kauravi, I didn't notice the Lancastrian was English, which was quite a surprise. The poem would look good framed on the wall! The words themselves offer brief insights into the nature of friendship.
Magma 78 is the magazine where I first discovered Steven J Fowler (see stevenjfowler.com ), too, even though I see he is in fact all over the internet. I liked what he had to say about poetry, that it is an 'incredible artform', that takes you places literally and metaphorically. I agree that I find poetry, for all its depths and different interpretations, serves its own ends. It is an expression of ourselves for expression's sake not for advancement, or earning money. I think I have just said those bits, not SJ Fowler, but it was reading the article on him that made me think this way. I enjoyed seeing him reading his poems on YouTube.
Have a look at SJ Fowler - Come and See the Songs of Strange Days on YouTube , which is enlight-light-lightening.
Whenever I read poetry in magazines I usually nip to the end and read a review article or two as well, so that when I actually reach that place in the magazine I don't have to read lots of reviews in a row - another tip I offer you for free! Haha! In the reviews, I did enjoy seeing Andree Bagoo describe something as, 'Swiftian - Jonathan not Taylor!'
Some words from today's reading...
gelid - a literary word meaning 'icy, extremely cold' (and nothing to do with eels.)
hagiography - the writing of the lives of saints,
(and thus) a biography that treats its subjects with undue reverence.
I put words like this on index cards so I don't forget them, and now I am online I am posting a picture of these cards on Instagram! See Bob and Poetry Instagram
I saw their advert in Electronic Sound Magazine No.75, and was immediately hooked on their content.
I specifically listened to:
- 'The Town That Was Murdered' by Draaier
featured track: gods hands pt. XII
- 'Clear Muted Sine Recovery' by Sunplus
(and after I subscribed...)