27 August 2009

decomposing darwin

PRINCE GEORGE – Poets Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott were joined by Prince George poet Ken Belford Wednesday night at a reading that marked the burial of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species.

The project DE COMP is in its first phase -- Collis and Scott have spent the summer on a GPS journey into B.C. with copies of the book, leaving one in a remote, outdoor spot in five distinct regional ecosystems. Next year, they will retrace the route and gather the books to discuss, read and compose based on the experience. Prince George represents the northern leg of the project. The final stop is the Kootenays.

The concept for DE COMP sprung from a dissatisfaction the two writers have with aspects of nature and eco-critical writing. Collis said that it is often too simplistic, and natural elements are added to the text to make a poem more "natural." As he put it, more birds and trees do not an eco-poem make.

"The idea of putting the book outside is to try and reverse that direction. I'm not going to put the natural into the text, I'm going to put the text out into the natural world and see what happens to it," he said.

Belford, whose anticipated new book of poetry (working title: Decompositions) is due out on Talon Books, opened the reading at Cafe Voltaire to about 30 people with a debut of 15 new poems. See clips below.

Stephen Collis reads from his forthcoming book, tentatively titled On the Material

Jordan Scott reads from Blert

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