This is the 13th 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? This time we talk with Rose Hunter.
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.
RH: I love it any time someone interprets my writing. I’m interested in what they see, especially if it’s something I haven’t seen, or if I disagree with their ideas. And there is something extra going on when work gets interpreted in a different form I think. For example I’ve been really impressed with what people have come up with as covers for my books, and how different they are to what I would have thought of. As writers we are in that closed loop in a sense, creating in the same medium more or less, as we are criticizing in. (Not that criticism isn’t also a creation of course.) But there isn’t that marked transfer, for example, that there is in writing about visual art or music, say. So I think it’s really interesting to look at these videos as (also) a form of engaged criticism in the sense of being an interpretation that shines a light on the work, in a different form. They’re also kind of translations, of course.
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.
RH: Just the one so far, which you did, Nic! I love it, and I love how different it is to what I had imagined. Having not considered the scene (in “You As Tunnel”) beyond what I saw in my head while writing it, I thought automatically of grainy images, maybe black and white or desaturated, flickering perhaps, a gritty realism. Which is not very original (for this poem). I loved your fresh, non-literal take, and the visual symbols you created with the planets and the headphoned and sunglassed woman. You got to a really emotionally true part of that experience. Of my experience. So that is just so interesting to me.
3. Would you do this again? What is your advice to other poets who might be considering submitting to The Poetry Storehouse?
RH: Yes, for sure I would do it again! Well, re advice I’m not sure, so I’ll just share my experience of submitting. When I was getting together the poems to send, I thought well first of all your guidelines say short, so that ruled out a lot of my current stuff in particular. Then I thought I would take them all out of my You As Poetry book in case that serial idea is interesting to anyone. So I got together five short ones from that book. It’s strange, I had a feeling that the one that you made a video out of might be the one most suitable actually. I don’t know why exactly, but I remember it passing through my mind, that probably someone will make that one. Maybe because it has a clearer narrative than the others and is more serious. And/or because it is very scene specific, and therefore provides more of a jumping-off point for someone else, whereas some of the others I sent are already “jumped-off” so to speak. If that makes sense. Anyway, not advice per se, just something I thought of.
4. Is there anything about the Storehouse process or approach that you feel might with benefit be done differently?
RH: No, not offhand. I love what you’re doing.
5. Is there anything else you would like to say about your Poetry Storehouse experience?
RH: Well, I blogged about some of my experiences (specifically the issue of reading my work out loud, and my insecurity/phobia). That’s here, and also you reblogged it at Voice Alpha. Thanks for the experience and the questions, and I look forward to keeping in touch and seeing what you do next!