Mar 24, 2014

MARGENTO--My Writing Process--Blog Tour

Thanks to poet Amanda Earl for inviting me to do this.  She writes about her own writing process here.

1) What am I working on?

MARGENTO: I am working on a poem already (re)written by other poets.  More explicitly, I am currently working on a topological poem mapping certain places by means of poems by poets who (in conventional terms) have never been to those particular places.  I rediscover America and describe it by means of poems from writers (that is, travelers) who never reached it or never suspected even existed.  In mathematical terms, I define a mapping from various ‘foreign’ corpora of poetry to my own ‘familiar’ spaces.  The ‘foreign’ will thus not only become ‘familiar’, it will actually prove itself to be the only possible way to experience, operate with, and translate the latter.  The topographical by means of the topological.  Coauthored with other poets (that is, translators).  There is no self but the other, which is for ourselves to discover through the others.  My Bucharest a Babel of bible bootleggers and babbling poets.

Apparently independently from that, but not really, I continue my work on the project titled the “graph poem” (graph as in network of nodes and edges) now at a more specifically academic level, together with Professor Diana Inkpen and a few of her graduate students in Computer Science at uOttawa doing research on and developing computational poetry machine learning and generation applications.

Also, I am curating the Poetries & Communities Project here, and working with people on a couple of continents on the third MARGENTO album. 

Last but not least, the premiere of amazing composer and singer Bogdan Bradu's rock opera I wrote the libretto for--Masca Lumii--is due later this year.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

M: It differs by the fact that it is openly and programmatically the same as the others.  And not (only) in the sense of Kenneth Goldsmith’s uncreative writing.  The problem is not being different or identical (no poem is the same with itself [just as nothing is the same with itself, since everything is a poem], and therefore, a poem that integrates poems as such is different from anything else anyway), the problem is how much and how representatively a poetry can absorb, integrate, and process (from) others.  Poetry nowadays must be an n-dimensional verse space, as its form and composition inevitably involve the links and commonalities it discovers, explores, and develops between ongoing poetries.  Its writing is a form of reading, and reading it is getting involved in its process of composition.  The map of the graph poem is the meaning of our world’s poetries, and that meaning is the generation of the graph poem. 

3) Why do I write what I do?

M: Are you kidding me?  Okay, well, maybe in certain respects, as Swift once put it, “for, what though his head be empty, provided his common-place book be full.”

4) How does your writing process work?

M: Whenever I get started I realize (I start hearing) a lot has already been going on and all I have to do is join the jam session and try and not embarrass the others.  The better I fit in—especially when doing my solos—the better I get to know them while making myself heard: that’s my way of being ‘original’, as a full time traveling translator.  And when I think I’m done, I discover (I start seeing) how things have already started to branch out across a wondrous new community of familiar voices: that’s my kind of ‘conformity’, sharing after-hours the form in which the others translate my own communal work.

Next week's blog tour participants are:

Felix Nicolau is the author of four collections of poetry, two novels, and five books of literary and communication theory: Homo Imprudens, 2006; Anticanonice (Anticanonicals), 2009; Codul lui Eminescu (Eminescu’s Code), 2010; and Estetica inumană: de la Postmodernism la Facebook (The Inhuman Aesthetics: from Postmodernism to Facebook), 2013; Fluturele-curcan: specii ameninţătoare (The Turkey-Butterfly: Dangerous Species), 2013. He is on the editorial boards of Poesis International, The Muse--an International Journal of Poetry, and Metaliteratura.

Martin Woodside is a writer, translator, and a founding member of Calypso Editions. He’s published five books for children, a chapbook of poetry, Stationary Landscapes and an anthology of Romanian poetry in translation, Of Gentle Wolves. Along with MARGENTO (Chris Tanasescu), he edited and translated a collection of Romanian poet Gellu Naum’s work entitled Athanor and Other Pohems. Martin spent 2009-10 on a Fulbright in Romania, studying contemporary Romanian poetry. Currently, he lives with his family in Philadelphia and is a doctoral candidate in Childhood Studies at Rutgers-Camden.

Raluca Tanasescu is a PhD student in Translation Studies at University of Ottawa and the translator of 11 volumes (fiction and non-fiction), as well as of many poetry selections. She is currently working on her doctoral research project titled Songs of Globalization: Trans/Inter-Cultural Patterns in North-American Poetry Translated into French and Romanian. 

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