“It was good to know I’d have no control”: an interview with Amy MacLennan

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with poets and remixers who have provided or worked with material from The Poetry Storehouse — a website which collects “great contemporary poems for creative remix.” Anyone who submits to the Storehouse has to think through the question of creative control — how important is it to you, what do you gain or lose by holding on to or releasing control? Our fourth interview is with Amy MacLennan.


1. Submitting to The Poetry Storehouse means taking a step back from a focus on oneself as individual creator and opening up one’s work to a new set of creative possibilities. Talk about your relationship to your work and how you view this sort of control relinquishment.


AM:
This has been very scary and unexpected and wonderful for me. I’ve had a half dozen poems paired with a graphic. I’ve had a few poems recorded with another person reading. This is the first time I’ve been part of a true collaborative project. While it was really scary, it was good to know I’d have no control — EVERYTHING out of my hands. Whatever it became, I wouldn’t have to edit edit edit like my other projects.


2. There is never any telling whether one will love or hate the remixes that result when a poet permits remixing of his or her work by others. Please describe the remixes that have resulted for your work at the Storehouse and your own reactions to them.


AM:
It. Was. Weird. I never expected to hear that kind of music, see that kind of video, hear that kind of voice merged into something that I had provided words for. The pacing was crazy interesting for me. I saw other things in my own poem that I wouldn’t have thought before because I was too attached to the rhythms of “Telegram.” I watch this now and think, “Wow. My words were the beginning to THIS? Oh my goodness!”


3. Would you do this again? What is your advice to other poets who might be considering submitting to The Poetry Storehouse?


AM:
I would definitely do this again. It expanded my creative brain. I think other poets would adore being involved in this kind of thing with others accepting a piece and taking it to a resolution completely beyond you.


4. Is there anything about the Storehouse process or approach that you feel might with benefit be done differently?


AM:
Nope.


5. Is there anything else you would like to say about your Poetry Storehouse experience?


AM:
This has made me a different writer. I’m excited to try and find other collaborative partners.

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