thanks for such a detailed wade into compositional process.
I'm sure many here, including myself, will have a version
not utterly dissimilar.
It's still contestable, partly because, within emergent
'performance studies' the word performance is such a contestable
term, that the process of writing is itself a 'performance'.
That 'writing' is a performance of language, some might
say language performing. It would also be possible, within
more recent approaches to non-matrixed performance, to
consider such a process as you describe, engaged with differing
aspects of performance, indeed constituting a series, or set,
of performances within the making of one piece. That's aside
from the performances by others which are more conventionally
called 'readings' and so on. Each of these 'performances'
has specific details of site (whether we're talking about
your head, or your 'unconscious', your chair, the word-processor,
the Internet etcetera. There are also processes or erasure,
re-presentation, translation from format to format, or medium
In fact what you describe is a process of relatively 'spontaneous'
mediatized performance. You also mention versioning, between
web 'originals' and revised printed poems.
For myself, I consider this variety of approaches to versioning
as curious and worth exploring. That there is no 'authoritative'
version of the poem. That each version is made specific to site.
In no sense would I consider 'performance' to be completion.
I would ask though in what ways might a space have words projected
onto it, 'written' within it that relates to those ways in
which language becomes arraigned on a page or in a book or . . .
I'm reminded of the endless revisions and revisions to revisions
that Robert Frost's manuscripts show him having made, even
after publication in Complete Poems. Frost isn't my thing
btw, but seeing his manuscripts astonished me. At no point
was the 'writing' finished. There was no final version - other than
that left unrevised by his death.
And I still haven't mentioned mediated or witnessed 'live'
performance. Are these not simply other sites of versioning,
neither more nor less priveledged. Certainly the 'orality'
- 'literacy' binary is dog-eared beyond usability. What
Genette calls 'indirect testimony' (processes of reproduction
such as photography, phonography, videography and suchlike)
render the boundary irrevocably blurred. A healing has taken
place along the old lines of such rupture.
It might be that 'live' performance is not through the voice,
but projected through a vision mixer as 'writing' emerging
on a computer screen, transmitted from a 'live' camera into
a club environment. It might be that 'live' writing is read,
as it is 'written' onto a train station announcement board.
What we are not necessarily doing at all is engaging with the
egotism of the 'virtuoso' vocaliser or whatever any more
than is already the case in the environment of a book. 'Live'
'writing' is site-specific versioning.
just a few stones into the water
love and love