Monday, April 4, 2016

TtD supplement #50 : seven questions for a rawlings

a rawlings’ genre-bending work embraces acoustic ecology, counter-mapping, improvisation, and ecopoetics. She is the recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship (Canada, 2009) and held the position of Arts Queensland Poet-in-Residence (Australia, 2012). rawlings’ 2012 digital publication Gibber amassed sound and visual poetry from Australian bioregions. In 2013, her work Áfall / Trauma was shortlisted for the Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Playwrights. Her literary debut Wide slumber for lepidopterists (Coach House Books, 2006) received an Alcuin Award for Design; the book was adapted in 2014 as music theatre by VaVaVoom, Bedroom Community, and Valgeir Sigurðsson, debuting at the Reykjavík Arts Festival. She has also penned libretti for Davíð Brynjar Franzson (Longitude) and Gabrielle Herbst (Bodiless). She straddles the North Atlantic, with heart in Iceland and study in Scotland.

Her poem “Finish” appears in the eighth issue of Touch the Donkey.

Q: Tell me about the poem “Finish.”

A: “Finish” is a visual poem from my serial work Dump. The series focuses on language discarded at rural Canadian landfill sites. “Finish” was sourced at Kennisis Lake Landfill Site, July 2014.

Q: How does this current project relate to your other works, whether for sound or stage?

A: Via mutual ecopoethics core.

Q: Ecopoethics is something that runs through the length and breadth of your work, and is one of the connecting factors in o w n (CUE, 2014), the three-poet collection that includes work by you, Heather Hermant and Chris Turnbull. How did the collection come about, and what has been the response?

A: Chris is a committed ambulator, and over the years she’s walked alongside many incredible souls. Through a discussion with CUE Books publisher reg johanson, Chris devised the idea to pair three shorter manuscripts into a single collection – with each manuscript by a different author. She approached Heather and me to see what unpublished work might be appropriate, and we puzzled o w n into being. We’ve been fortunate to receive thoughtful reflection from Sarah Dowling, whose afterword is published in the collection. Sonnet L’Abbé and Jonathan Skinner likewise wrote the collection into their springs. I’d love to see this format taken up elsewhere, where longer texts by separate makers commingle.

Q: I’ve long noticed that your text work has been deeply engaged with sound and visual, and often both, in very unusual ways, really blurring the boundaries between text, sound poetry and visual poetry. What is it about the blend that appeals?

A: Most languages are fundamentally visual and/or sonic (with some tactile). My practice aims for sensorial emphasis to resituate the inherited and familiar (language) as simultaneously rooted in the ancestral/etymological and estranged from a dominant semantic.

Q: With the publication of a small number of poetry chapbooks and a trade collection, and a variety of theatre and libretti works over the past decade-plus, alongside, as you’ve described, “community, collaborative, performative, and/or digital efforts in Canadian, Icelandic, Belgian, French, and Australian locales,” how do you feel your work has developed? Where do you see your work heading?

A: Past: Nine of Pentacles
Future: Queen of Cups

Q: Given the breadth of your work, I’m curious about your influences. What writers and artists have been important to your work?

A: Today?

1.     Touching 1000 People by Diane Borsato

2.     Decomp by Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott

3.     The Sea Museum by Marie Darrieussecq

4.     Lys: Landskab og Stemmer by Elle-Mie Ejdrup Hansen

6.     Turtle Dreams by Meredith Monk

7.     Hér, or, Children in Reindeer Woods by Kristín Ómarsdóttir

8.     World Rehearsal Court by Judy Radul

10.   Sound Education by R. Murray Schafer

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