Imitations is a large project which will include a number of smaller projects. The concept of Imitations is to 'collaborate' through stylistic imitation of other poets. I am attempting to write a number of small series, each of which imitates the lyric voice of a poet chosen for their biographical/geographical/social relevance to myself. This is in order to foreground embodied subjects in a meaningfully material way. I'm hoping to use this method to explore the unique, amalgamated voice phenomenon of collaborative poetry by engaging with other voices in the acknowledgment of the way in which such an engagement implicates the embodied writing subjects who cannot extricate themselves from those voices (this includes me).
The aim of Imitations isn’t to produce faithful replicas, which would be boring and pointless, and in any case the inevitable collision and mutation that will occur as the voices of others and my own amalgamate, will necessarily produce something new, something which neither of us 'collaborators' could comfortably and un-problematically claim full identity with. Instead I want to see what voice-thing occurs when my own voice issues from a place which is both my own and not my own, when the ostensibly single voice performs the negotiations, intrusions and productions of 'co-'. What implications (vocal, social, political) are there for the poems produced in this way? I want to see whether the source voice resists my attempt to speak with it, whether I recognise it as familiar, what kind of events transpire at this meeting of voices, and what affects, uncomfortable or otherwise such a dubious form of 'collaboration' produces in me. In other words, I am hoping to observe the particular micropolitics which transpires in each poem and I am also hoping to have a rather strange encounter with that im/material and queerly manifested thing, voice. I look forward to hearing what will come out of my own mouth; I’m interested in this project as yet another angle on a poetics of community.
So far, I have completed three Imitations sequences, 'NZTOTSN', 'The Complaint' and 'A Death Ritual'.
My work on this project is generously supported by the UK Society of Authors through their award of an Authors' Foundation Grant.
The cyborg incarnation is outside salvation history...the cyborg has no origin story in the Western sense....An origin story in the 'Western', humanist sense depends on the myth of original unity, fullness, bliss and terror, represented by the phallic mother from whom all humans must separate...The cyborg skips the step of original unity, of identification with nature in the Western sense.
The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity. It is oppositional, Utopian, and completely without innocence...The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust.
Donna J Haraway