The Process & Bios
Notes on "what alley found in poem"
by Christi Kramer and
How shall we say the poem started? The collaboration as layered in its process as the painting that inspired it: from the outermost pigment we soak in and touch, down through spackle and canvas, to muse.
Christi: Last spring, Bonnie Nish at Pandora's Collective invited both Daniela and me to join a few others in writing and reading in response to an exhibition at the Sidney and Gertrude Zack Gallery: a mixed-media, two-person show by Jeanne Krabbendam and Norm Chodirker, Alley Ways: The Hidden Places Uncovered. (This seemed serendipity to me, since I had just spent months engaged, alone, in my own poetic study of alley.) Daniela and I “viewed” the show together; each of us moving around the gallery, settling into the room and writing there on our own.
Daniela: Being in the space together seemed important. There was a moment when we stopped at one of the exhibits which encouraged us to interact with it. Gloves, book, and there were little bits and pieces we could handle. So we did, together.
Christi: Then we said good night, went about our ways and each in our own time and manner, wrote poems to/from the Alley Ways exhibit, which we were to read a week later. … In the meantime, one Monday particularly suited for a frothy cup of coffee, Daniela and I met at her home. We read some new poems to each other. And then, there at her kitchen table we wrote.
Daniela: I had been thinking of inviting Christi to collaborate on another poem (we wrote our first one back and forth over email) and the moment seemed appropriate. And there was no where to go, or run to. Most collaborations I have done have been over email. This was right there on the spot.
Christi: We passed one pen back and forth, placed into each other's hand, both of us with our fingers on the piece of paper; sometimes each of us peeking back at the notes we had written while in the gallery, scavenging language like the materials the painters picked out of alley, attended to and framed.
Daniela: It was intense. Face to face, hand to hand, the penning of words and the picking up from where the other left off.
Christi: A lot of busy writing, serious and giddy. The morning disappeared before us. If I remember right, it just happened. This poem came truly alive in the reading, another performed collaboration. With artists and audience present, first our individual poems and then, together at the microphone, our voices (like the pen) taking turns and layering, we read What Alley Found in Poem.
Daniela: Months later when we decided to submit to the Blue Print Review, I looked at the poem again. I kept thinking of the word needle and how I saw need in it, and wanted need to stand out. So I inserted the slash. And did so for the rest of the slashed words. The slash seemed appropriate. I was afraid Christi will not go for it, but she did with an extra layer of enthusiasm and excitement, for which I was grateful.
Daniela Elza and Christi Kramer met by chance (if one believes in such things) at the Summer Dream Literary Arts Festival in Stanley Park. Christi had just arrived to Vancouver from Idaho, got lost in the park and stumbled onto the event at which Daniela was reading. She was only lost, of course, if one believes in such things.
Both Christi and Daniela are poets and both are working though Poetic Inquiry in their respective universities (UBC and SFU). They often get together for coffee to conspire in curiosity, speak of things poetic, and collaborate. Every time they have performed "what alley found in poem" it has been different. The latest one had echoes.
Jeanne Krabbendam was born in The Netherlands and immigrated to Vancouver in 1999. She received formal training in the European art tradition in The Netherlands and France. Jeanne often uses mixed techniques in her art work. She has extensive exhibit experience both national and international. In addition to pieces that have been commissioned by individuals and corporations, a great deal of her work is sold at exhibits. Over the years many of her paintings have found homes in Europe, North - and South America, Australia, South-Africa, China and Japan.
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