Tiny arctic ice is an experiment in recasting. Rather than drafting this poem toward a final draft, I write as an act of recasting, again and again, to slow down my attention and consider how context itself might matter to the poem.
I wrote the first version of the poem in 2007 when I built a book out of a teabag for the Dusie Kollektiv (at that time, the world’s population was 6.6 billion; I update this number as I recast the poem). I recast it through performance in 2009 at Caberet Voltaire in Zurich, Switzerland, curated by Susana Gardener, when Swiss poet Katherin Schaeppi helped me translate lines into Swiss and jot them onto paper airplanes. Jessi Wahnetah and Stella Gockenbach launched the planes into audience, who then read the lines aloud.
“As a daunted human creature of this world, I write down its details. The final sum is elusive, is abundant, spills over the form. [more]”
In a similar action, I wrapped lines around flowers from the adjacent farmer’s market, and handed these to audience members who then read lines, when I performed at St. Johns Bookseller’s Market Day series in 2009. Other recast versions have appeared as a broadside created by Mel Nichols for the Ruthless Grip series, in the journal Capitalism, Nature Socialism, and in the Pacific Poetry Project anthology. Jim Dine recast the text for one of his books in his Hot Dreams series.
By staying with this poem and accruing details about contemporary conditions, from global warming to labor to global trade, I hope to learn something. Meaning through accretion.
2007 teabag poem created for Dusie Kollektiv
2008 Jacket Magazine
2009 paper airplane performance at Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich for DA du DA sie
2009 flower giveaway performance at Market Day Poetry Series, St. Johns Book Store, Portland, Oregon
2010 Capitalism, Nature, Socialism
2012 Financial Times newspaper accordion performance, Hi Zero poetry reading in Brighton, UK
2013 E-Waste performance at Ecopoetics Conferences at Berkeley
2013 Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest (anthology by Ooligan Press)
2016 A Tale of Magicians Who Puffed Up Money that Lost its Puff (poetry collection, Tinfish Press 2016)