Nature Building with Andrew McEwan

Throughout 2015/6 Andrew McEwan and I have been collaborating on a project that is slowly morphing into a book-length event. Titled “Nature Building,” it repurposes/reinhabits/rewrites lyric nature-based poems from the Canadian canon.

We have a close set of rules and parameters for the project which we may write about later. Suffice to say right now that we are co-authoring the entire project of poems. Here is a glimpse of it – two poems included in ti-TCR’s web folio on “Stuff” edited by Matea Kulic.

Andrew and I met at an ArtSong Lab after party.  He mentioned he was studying play as part of creativity for his PhD. That was catnip! Both of us have been surprised by how easy it was to ignite a collaborative practice together while he’s in Ontario and I’m in BC. We began when neither of us were busy with a project – or were waiting for responses on projects – and the idea of Nature Building tumbled into being.

Here is Andrew talking about Nature Building with rob mclennan. Read here about his TWO forthcoming poetry books!

The collaborative project with Elee came about through an inside joke that developed the first time we met. We joked about nature tropes of Anglo-Canadian anthology verse and how these formed much of the landscape in which we developed our understanding of poetry as youth and students. We decided to pull natural imagery from early Canadian anthology poetry (pre-1950) and send them to each other to write around, through, and into. Since that beginning, we’ve departed from this original premise as the conversation developed. As for your second two questions, I’m still figuring these out. Right now I’d say the difference is that the composition and idea development happen in conversation, and over a prolonged period. There are far more delays in development of new directions and ideas as we wait for the next skype call to discuss them. This has been a really great thing, though, and it’s allowed the project to develop in a very natural way. It’s changed the way I think about my solo writing insofar as it’s helping me to see writing as a conversation with my own ideas over days, weeks, years, and to slow down when ideas need time to develop.

More to come!