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
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.