I'm a fan of visual poet Scott Helmes, who I met in a lucky encounter at the library where I work. I've posted about his work before over on my haiku blog, no more moon poems.
Earlier this year, I got an unexpected package in the mail from Scott. It contained a series of colored-ink-blob paintings on paper towels. He included a note saying that these were from "the Viva series," with instructions to add to them, title them, and bind them however I liked.
Project followed project followed deadline followed deadline, and the little paintings disappeared under the drifts of paper that inevitably accumulate on any flat surface in my studio. I never forgot about them -- just always had other things that took priority. Until this weekend.
The page in the photo above will be the back cover when all the pages have dried and I bind it. The covers are entirely my creation, but all of the internal pages are collaborations.
Here's one of the originals as it arrived and what it turned into:
I decided that my contribution would be textual. On the front of each page I printed a recent haiku using the rubber-stamp type that I've used for the past couple of projects. For the back of each page, I created a new haiku using only words from the haiku on the front. Using dice, I determined how many words would be in the second haiku, then (also using dice) randomly chose which words they would be. As in most chance-produced poetry there are some incomprehensible moments and some that it's hard to believe are the result of chance. Here's one fortuitous combination:
I'm excited to bind it and finish it up, but have forced myself to let them dry overnight. Should wrap it up later this week, though. More photos then!