On June 1, 2013, I initiated the Group Poem Project. The process involved finding 20 poets who would be interested in participating in an exquisite corpse over the internet which we would then individually edit, thus ending up with twenty-one unique poems, including mine.
Finding participants was easier than I thought it might be (my fear was that no one would be interested) and, though I had one person who decided afterwards not to participate, I still ended up with twenty plus two extras who contacted me after the project had started and who I asked to wait until such time when I start another group project. I also had one participant who joined but then never participated. Thus, in the end, we had nineteen poets plus me for a total of twenty.
I provided 5 first lines which everyone then voted on:
- An apple is not a story.
- Lift here to experience.
- At sunset, we’re always thinking about hips.
- The letter “Q” stands for the month of August.
- On track tinkering with this range roughly
“An apple is not a story” won overwhelmingly though there were a few votes for a couple of the other lines. Thus began the process which ended on June 29 when Karen Kelley provided the last line. Our final, unedited poem is presented here.
I then asked everyone to edit the poem, both individually and blindly, sending me alone their final version. This was a suggestion from Joy Mar, another poet who was participating. This would ensure that no one was influenced by anyone’s particular aesthetic.
Our final decision involved copyright. I had specified from the beginning that the copyright would be joint, but how to render that? So after some discussion, I decided that the original, unedited version would hold a copyright owned by all while each edited version would be copyrighted by the individual poet with the intention that any publication would include a reference to the group work.
The pages under this topic contain the poems that we produced as a group and individually.
I want to thank all the poets for their contributions to this project, for their willingness to participate, their enthusiasm,, for their kind suggestions as we went along and for their patience as this project unfolded. I also want to thank all those who followed this cyber venture throughout the course of its development.
I consider myself honored and pleased.
Stayed tuned for more collaborations.