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The Mississippi Corpse - CyberCorpse 12

From: jvabell@msn.com

Josh Bell here (on why it's hell naming flowers, Cybercorpse 9).

Here at the U of Alabama, we're interested in contributing something to your Mississippi River documentary if we could. Let me describe the project we've come up with, and see what you think: Myself, Eliot Wilson (1st book out later this year from Cleveland State, and he won an NEA this year), Sophia Kartsonis (published in Denver Quarterly, Another Chicago Magazine, and in your Body Bag with the "kiss my sweet asphodel" line) Abraham Smith (published recently in New Orleans review, a performance/slam poet who says you might know him from Taos this summer, drinking whiskey and whatnot).

Here's the pitch: The four of us have divided the stretch of the river from Minnesota to Louisiana (we each get two states, I think, to cover). We are each writing some poems (wild riffs, sonnets, a sestina I think is in there somewhere, some prose) which carry the body of a young drowned boy from Minnesota all the way across the country, and then we drop him in the Gulf, ie, we four poets pass him along while writing about the river. Sometimes he's the central speaker and sometimes he's just something drifting by or something that the river recognizes, etc. He's got a green ski mask on, mittens and letters in his pockets, and every now and then the river people pin messages to his clothes when they find him washed up in a snag, and then they set him back downriver on his way. It's tough to climb up out of the river and get served in a riverside bar in Arkansas when you're an underaged dead child, etc.

So, we are now in the middle of writing these poems about this drowned kid in that big river, and we were thinking, since Abraham is our performer, of videotaping him reading some of the story/poem and sending it along to you so that you could see it and consider it for the documentary, and we could videotape more of it, get to the river ourselves, etc.

So, I wanted to know how something like that might fit into your plans, and if it sounded like it fit into your plans, I was wondering when might be a good time to shoot for to have something to you. I know it's been awhile since you called for material, and I hope we're not too late.

Let me know, and let me know if I can clarify the project any. Again, four poets, each responsible for two of the states the Miss. passes through, and each of us passing along the body of the child.

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