The latest Others Letters post features "open-letter" poetry by Stephen Collis, addressed to Garry Morse.
I have been writing various “letter-poems” for quite some time now—perhaps first striking off from Olson’s “letters” in Maximus (some of which were actually mailed to people—Ferrini, for instance). In what I call “The Barricades Project,” there are the “Dear Common” poems—addressed to everyone and no-one—as well as other letter poems, with various addressees (living and dead). I have also found the form useful for political agitation (would a corporation charge an open-letter poem with libel? We’ll see).
In early 2010, Vancouver poet and novelist Garry Morse and I started a correspondence when both our books were coming out that spring with Talon (Garry’s After Jack and my On the Material). Garry’s side of the correspondence was mostly in prose, and embedded in e-mails with other discussions intervening. He was also a lot more prolific than I was (!), so it’s hard to track what letter/poem responds to what. At first we were responding to each other’s manuscripts, but increasingly, we were responding to the building responses themselves. In the excerpts here I both comment on Garry’s work (often picking up and playing with language from After Jack) and respond to questions he was raising about my own practice. If there is an “ars poetica” buried in here, it is written in “Morse code.”