letters

IMG_0408.jpg

The first two years that Dylan and I spent together, first in our opposite apartments on 99th Street, then in this subsidized, south-facing idyll of a co-op, we often got into serious arguments about poetry. I would write a new poem and after about 30 seconds' hesitation, email it to Dylan, then scuttle over to his desk to stand over his shoulder while he read it. He would tell me he was sure it was very good, but he didn't know anything about poetry. I would get angry and insist that understanding poetry was not an intellectual or esoteric skill, it was something any feeling, curious person could apply themselves to. I would point out that Dylan wrote beautiful songs with subtle, well-developed metaphors, complex structures, and lyrical turns of phrase. He would shrug. Later that night, or the next week, we would inevitably find ourselves sitting at the table with a bottle of whiskey between us, hashing out the painful truths of our divergent artistic sensibilities. 

Then, last October, Dylan emailed me a poem. It was called "yesterday," and it was about the painful truth of possessing a divergent artistic sensibility--namely, mine. I yelled a little when I read it. I replied: I KNEW IT! Holy fuck. We have been emailing poems to each other since, sometimes composing poems in direct response to something the other has written.

As a Yuletide present, for our families but also for you, we've collected our email poems to-date in a chapbook (hopefully the first volume of many, which we plan to bind in different colours, like Ted Hughes's original conception of The Rainbow Press.) We've printed 29 of them. You can order one here.