Tuesday, June 27, 2017

On Writing #134 : Sacha Archer

The Classic Guide to Strategy
Sacha Archer

Writing is a category of the arts. A statement like that is both meaningless and perfectly to the point. Such a statement is located in the same tradition as the Zen koan, except, not being wise, I give it awkwardly, with a balance of alcohol and pride.

If I do know what writing is, I don’t want to forget. I want to use it as a reference when I cannot remember where I am or what I am doing. Too often writing resembles itself too self-assuredly, and as such is good for an anchor in an hour of idiot bravery.

Use every possible means and material to perform the act of writing and to arrive at the material conclusions that are bound to occur. But, this is also a strategy of survival.

An advantageous fatigue has settled over me. I no longer work to understand. Understanding is the work pouring forth from the hands, feet, eyes, lips, tongue. This is not a lucrative philosophy of the body. Nor is it masturbatory. But it is physical.

In fact, I have more faith in misunderstanding which sends us on our way just as readily. To understand that which was never there, and which, through misunderstanding, materializes—independent of the source, or non-source. To attribute to another what is already yours. To thieve your own conception from the shadow of a doubt, that human figure.

And it’s not there at all. That is the field I’m in.

Writing is a god or writing is job. Writing is a category of the arts—when it is positioned so. Positioned so, writing is a category of the arts. As such, it need not resemble the text as we know it. That’s not writing, that’s wringing the air of its time. That’s not writing. That’s not writing, that’s surviving.

Sacha Archer is a Canadian writer currently residing in Ontario. He was the recipient of the 2008 P.K. Page Irwin Prize for his poetry and visual art, and in 2010 he was chosen to participate in the Elise Partridge Mentor Program. His work has appeared in journals such as filling Station, ACTA Victoriana, h&, illiterature, NōD, and Experiment-O. His most recent chapbooks are Detour (Spacecraft Press, 2017), The Insistence of Momentum (The Blasted Tree, 2017), and Acceleration of the Arbitrary (Grey Borders, 2017), and a new title is forthcoming from above/ground press. One of his online manifestations is his blog at https://sachaarcher.wordpress.com/

Monday, June 12, 2017

On Writing #133 : Jamie Sharpe

On Writing: Ich Bin Nicht Berliner (I Just Play One in Poems)
Jamie Sharpe

After the publication of Animal Husbandry Today, Buckingham Palace called asking for verse on the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

I set to work immediately: Heaven’s sterling trumpet sounds/ soaring through the Commonwealth/ oh this joyous day!

Later, by letter, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, said kind words on my ode and regretted not accepting it as we received an overwhelming number of outstanding submissions.

I make poems, but I don’t know how to make a poem.

To write poetry I rely on a trick that involves not writing—I don’t write most of the time.

I wait.

Would that I could, I’d consistently manufacture poems.

The sixty-year reign of a foreign monarch is as good a reason for song as any, but it’s a line on jelly doughnuts that eventually jams itself in my head.

Something about holes tasting better than strawberry.

A practiced pastry chef makes doughnuts at will.

Though professionally accredited (check out my fancy MFA) I’m a perpetual amateur.

What congeals for me, and when, is a surprise.

Jamie Sharpe is the author of three poetry collections, Animal Husbandry Today, Cut-up Apologetic & Dazzle Ships.