This is the 16th 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 Jenene Ravesloot.
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.
JR: The experience with The Poetry Storehouse has been a thrilling one. The collaborative process has freed me from preconceptions of my poetry and allowed me to see my poetry, and myself as a writer, in a fresh way. In the past, I have worked closely with visual artists and musicians. This time around, I relinquished control of my work, allowing for surprising and fresh interpretations of the text by various remixers at The Poetry Storehouse.
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.
JR: Five of my poems were accepted by The Poetry Storehouse, three of them resulting in remixes. “Mostly About A Color” was remixed twice, once by Nic S. and once by Jutta Pryor. Nic’s seductive voice and use of kinetic text pulls the viewer down into the poem until the viewer almost feels like he or she is resigned to drowning. Jutta Pryor’s remix, with Nic S.’s voice, on the other hand, emphasizes and echoes the threatening energy of the sea. These remixes of my poem enabled me to rediscover the depth of my fear of the sea and its power. They evoked my childhood experience of almost drowning. Othniel Smith did an intimate and beautiful remix of “Alone,” using my voice and internet archives. Paul Broderick remixed my noir poem, “Crime Scene,” with my voice, the use of classic blues music, and strong noir archive images. Both of these remixes more fully realized the visions I had in these poems.
3. Would you do this again? What is your advice to other poets who might be considering submitting to The Poetry Storehouse?
JR: I would definitely do this again. It has been a wonderful experience to see my work remixed and to learn from the various interpretations of my poems. I would certainly encourage other poets to submit work to The Poetry Storehouse and have the opportunity to collaborate with an incredible roster of creative remixers, artists, and musicians. Prepare to be surprised!
4. Is there anything about the Storehouse process or approach that you feel might with benefit be done differently?
JR: I have had an entirely positive experience with The Storehouse and cannot think of anything I would change. It has been a real joy and an honor to participate in this collaborative process.
5. Is there anything else you would like to say about your Poetry Storehouse experience?
JR: I have, of course, been following The Poetry Storehouse on Facebook, and have enjoyed viewing the work of other poets via the remixing process as well as listening to audio files available through The Poetry Storehouse. Thanks to The Poetry Storehouse, my poems have found a wider home on the internet for which I am most grateful. The feedback has been enthusiastic.