Sunday, April 15, 2012

Global birthday poem unfolds

At Tuesday Poem there is a global birthday poem unfolding. Our second birthday, our second global poem. It's an amazing undertaking that does my head in everytime I organise the roster and each time a line goes up. 

In a nutshell, 26 of the 31 Tuesday Poets living in six countries and 12 different cities contribute a line each over 14 days to create a single fabulous poem. Many of us have never met each other, and yet we do it - on trust, and in good heart, because we are a community  and it's our birthday. 

The poem kicked off at one minute past midnight on April 3, 2012 with a line from Boston poet Melissa Green, my Tuesday Poem co-curator Claire Beynon (a kiwi visiting Ibiza, Spain at the time) contributed the second line ten hours later, with Saradha Koirala from Wellington New Zealand posting the third. 

After that we bounced across the globe from Wellington to Canberra to London to Philadelphia to somewhere in Italy to Seattle to Dunedin and more.  I will post the final line at one minute past midnight Monday night from Wellington, NZ. There have been so few glitches - sometimes the poem disappeared off the blog due to some scheduling issues, but it was no biggie. It popped up again in no time at all.... 

And how do we post? We're all administrators for the Tuesday Poem blog, so we log in, add the line, and then add our name to the list of poets at the bottom, before passing the baton to the next poet in this roster.

Our first global birthday poem was Tuesday written last year. 
This year we've called it Birthday Poem (working title). And it started like this:

"The shyest sparrow's supplications in the early evening trees
are a careful arpeggio - each note liberates a flotilla of leaves
fleeting, indeed, left scattered as archipelago in a dew-grass sea." 

It's many lines past that now. 

Here's what I said on Beattie's book blog last week: 'It's an exciting process watching the lines go up one by one - seeing the thinking behind each line - the language, the line-breaks, where it's left for the next poet to pick it up. It's like watching one poetic mind at work, with each poet like one of the many competing voices that a poet hears as s/he writes: 'break the line there' 'no don't' 'rhyme it' 'don't you dare' 'how about plums to echo plume' 'what are you thinking?' and so on. "

What I love most of all is thinking of the poet who is next on the roster mulling over his/her line - while drinking a coffee in Dunedin, perhaps, or eating dinner in London, or walking past spring bulbs somewhere in Italy ... 

It's Penelope in Canberra at the moment pondering on Catherine Fitchett's line posted from Christchurch. Helen Rickerby tomorrow. Then me. The final poem is published on Tuesday Poem on Tuesday April 17. 


Bill M said...

In anticipation of 2 years; Happy Birthday! What a wonderful idea. The poem flows so wonderfully it is like one person wrote the entire poem. I look forward to Tuesday.

susan t. landry said...

another attractive image of a Tuesday Poet:
sitting in her bathrobe in Maine, hair sticking out in 9 different directions, coffee cup rings marking her desktop...

i LOVE the whole birthing process, Mary! kudos to you, Claire, and all the terrific writers!

lillyanne said...

I'm amazed, delighted and moved by it all, and especially by being involved in it. Love it. Thanks a bundle.

Mary McCallum said...

Thanks Bill M and Susan and Belinda - love that image of the Tuesday Poet, Susan - a familiar one I can tell you... Mary x