Writing Poetry in Public

Met with my friend Keith, the poet, this a.m. We have a standing agenda of items to discuss. Usually we both have some kind of electronic device and wind up googling for something.

Today I took him (electronically) to Henko: A Powell Street Many Ways Renga. Keith knows all about renga and was intrigued with the “many ways” adaptation.

You can see the poem here:  http://www.powellstreethenko.ca/whole.php

It’s kind of a choose-your-own-adventure poem.

There are some rules – the form alternates a 5/7/5 stanza with a 7/7 stanza (that would be numbers of syllables).

Sachiko Murakami wrote the first stanza as the ‘honoured guest” in her own project and then (at this point) 11 people wrote 7/7 stanzas.

I went to the launch and asked: did you invent this? and if so can others use it?

Of course she said.

So then I checked out Project Rebuild – where you can start with someone else’s poem and rebuild it, just as you can move into a house and make it your own. Fun.

Then I just listened to a podcast on CBC Q with Robert Montgomery about Brandalism.

He tells a great story of an engagement with the police force – turns out some like poetry. But he had to stop plastering up his poetry anyhow.

Here’s a CBC article and a photo of one of his pieces. (he says he always uses the same font)

Keith has an idea for putting an old laptop with a poem on it as the screensaver in a window visible to the public. He thinks that the screensaver may be the only part of this particular laptop that still works. Keith tweets as @wintergifts – and writes and tweets prolifically. Doubt he’d run out of poetry… but if he did – back to the start and think about many ways renga.

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