A few months ago I was approached by my friend, brilliant poet Helen Vitoria to collaborate on a poem. I was leery at first; I’m not really a poet…no, I ‘m NOT A POET and I’ve never claimed to be one. I have no historical poetry education, nor am I well-versed in the rudiments and nuts and bolts of poetry. I would say the “poet” I’ve mostly been influenced by has been Charles Bukowski—by no means a “classical” scribe. But I immediately agreed to work with Helen; I love challenges and I love working with talented people. I am not afraid of failure.
And so we got to it; the concept was: Helen was going to start off with two lines, and I was to add two more. And then Helen again. And then me. And so we would go, until we found a groove, developed it, and finished it. Helen had done this before with xtx, the famous, anonymous Internet writer. I studied that piece diligently and found it quite strong, but I was thinking we would take our collaboration in a different direction. I was interested in a more “classical” piece.
During the course of about 4 weeks Helen and I worked hard in short bursts at crafting this piece. I am a fiction prose writer, and so my instinct is to come up with ideas, and branch off other ideas off of those, to be eventually developed. I learned tons from working with Helen about what poetry is and how it’s crafted. She nixed the multiple ideas and kept me focused on one, and one only. With her help and guidance, I was able to contribute to what, I think, eventually became an extremely strong piece of work; a poem in a classic style which I haven’t read since I was a small child in school.
I am so grateful for Helen’s guidance through this process, and so happy to bring you our poem Ars Poetica, published at Firestorm Literary and Arts Journal.