The Blog

The Group Poetry Project: Branches and Twigs

For the month of June, writer and poet Mike Maggio decided to start a group writing project that would bring together twenty poets and end with twenty-one new poems. After each poet contributed one line to the collaborative poem, each had the chance to revise the poem within his or her style while maintaining the integrity of the original lines of the work.

Unlike prose, poetry is more often broken by white space, taking advantage of stanza and line breaks, of a division of grammar. It can make you wait, savor single words and question their connections and order. Below are two sections of the original collaborative poem, followed by revisions by Graham Pilato, Francesca Rand, and Susan Scheid. Each poet uses structure differently, either snipping or elongating original lines. Revisit our blog to watch how the poem continues to evolve.

 

*To read the entirety of the original collaborative poem, or to learn a bit more about collaborative poetry, go here.

 

 

Tree branch

photo credit: Jessica Crabtree via Flickr

From the original “An Apple Is Not A Story”:

An apple is not a story.
Its ripeness holds the weight,
tipping juicy balances with time,
forbidden to be consumed in one sitting,
tasting line by line

Susan Scheid’s revision of the same lines:

An apple is not a story.
Its ripeness holds the weight,
tipping juicy balances with time.

Forbidden.  Unable to be eaten in one sitting.
Taste it line by line.

Graham Pilato’s  revision of the same lines:

 i)

An

app-

le

is no

t

a stor-

y.

ii)
Its ripeness holds:

 

the weight:

tipping juicy

ba-

lan

ces

with… time,

forbidden to be consumed in one sitting,
one tasting:

line

by line:

Francesca Rand’s revision of the same lines:

An apple is not a story.
Its ripeness holds the weight.
Tipping juicy, it balances with time.
Forbidden to be consumed in one sitting, it is tasted line by line.

 

From the original:

concealing secrets of the soil that sustains it
and seeds buried for doubting tongues
Coming to life for those
not afraid of seeing
Glutted with the ripe flesh,
wasps murmur in the grass.
Earth-bound with drunkenness,
heedless of the roaring blade.

Susan Scheid’s revision:

It conceals secrets of the soil that sustains it
and seeds buried for doubting tongues,
coming to life for those not afraid of seeing.

Glutted with the ripe flesh,
wasps murmur in the grass,
earth-bound with drunkenness,
heedless of the roaring blade.

Graham Pilato’s revision:

[conce            aling secrets of the soil that sustains it
and            seeds buried for doubting tongues coming to life

for those
not afraid of seeing]

Glutted with the ripe flesh,
wasps murmur in the grass,

earth-bound with drunkenness,
heedless of the roaring blade.

Francesca Rand’s revision:

concealing secrets of the soil that sustains it.
And, seeds buried for doubting tongues,
coming to life for those not afraid of seeing.
Glutted with the ripe flesh, wasps murmur in the grass.
Earth-bound with drunkenness and heedless of the roaring blade,
Complete Revisions

 

Susan Scheid

An apple is not a story.
Its ripeness holds the weight,
tipping juicy balances with time.

Forbidden.  Unable to be eaten in one sitting.
Taste it line by line.

She nibbles crisp tart words that salivate
and satisfy her curiosity, vast and unquenchable.

Mystery rests in this pale delicate flesh.

An apple is more than a story.
A primly wrapped promise, a ruse. A guise.

It conceals secrets of the soil that sustains it
and seeds buried for doubting tongues,
coming to life for those not afraid of seeing.

Glutted with the ripe flesh,
wasps murmur in the grass,
earth-bound with drunkenness,
heedless of the roaring blade.

Waiting in the trees for resurrection,
chlorophyll-laden leaves transform rays of sun
into nectar-filled flowers that will become
crimson harbingers of joy, foretellers of truth.

She steps carefully over
the circle of bodies that surround her.

© Susan Scheid 2013

 

 

 

Graham Pilato

i)

An

app-

le

is no

t

a stor-

y.

ii)
Its ripeness holds:

 

the weight:

tipping juicy

ba-

lan

ces

with… time,

forbidden to be consumed in one sitting,
one tasting:

line

by line:

nibbling

crisp_ tart_ words_,

to salivate

and satisfy:

her…

curiosity:

vast and unquenchable.

iii)
Mystery rests in this pale delicate flesh–
(An apple is more than a story)
A primly wrapped promise, a ruse. A guise.

[conce            aling secrets of the soil that sustains it
and

seeds buried for doubting tongues coming to life

for those
not afraid of seeing]

Glutted with the ripe flesh,
wasps murmur in the grass,

earth-bound with drunkenness,
heedless of the roaring blade.

iv)

An apple is not a story,

waiting in the trees

for its resurrection

as chlorophyll-laden leaves transform:

rays of sun
into

nectar-filled flowers

that will become:

crimson harbinger of joy

(foreteller of truths).

v)

She steps carefully over
the circle of bodies that surround her.

=

© Graham Pilato. 2013

 

 

Francesca Rand

An apple is not a story.
Its ripeness holds the weight.
Tipping juicy, it balances with time.
Forbidden to be consumed in one sitting, it is tasted line by line.
Nibbling crisp tart words, to salivate and satisfy her curiosity.
Vast and unquenchable, mystery rests in this pale delicate flesh.
An apple is more than a story.
It is a primly wrapped promise, a ruse, a guise
concealing secrets of the soil that sustains it.
And, seeds buried for doubting tongues,
coming to life for those not afraid of seeing.
Glutted with the ripe flesh, wasps murmur in the grass.
Earth-bound with drunkenness and heedless of the roaring blade,
it waits in the tree for its resurrection.
Chlorophyll-laden leaves transform rays of sun into nectar-filled flowers that will become
crimson harbingers of joy, foretellers of truths.
She steps carefully over the circle of bodies that surround her.

© Francesca Rand 2013

 

 

 

Contributing Poets:

Susan Scheid is the author of After Enchantment, her first book of poetry.  Her poetry has appeared most recently in Tidal Basin Review, Requiem, Rose Red Review, The Unrorean, Bark! and the chapbook, Poetic Art.  Susan currently serves on the Board of Directors for Split This Rock.  As Artist-in Residence at the Noyes School of Rhythm in Connecticut, Susan studies dance and teaches daily writing workshops for one week each summer.  She lives in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC, where she has been a community organizer for thirty years.  Susan helped open a community-owned grocery (Brookland Co-op Community Market) and also served on its board of directors.  Susan has a B.A. in Anthropology from Catholic University.

Graham Pilato is a Baltimore/Washington D.C. area actor and an MFA Acting student at Catholic University of America. He is a member of Cloudism with Allison Fuentes and Mike Maggio and Artistic Director of Borealis Theatre, both of which groups create interactive performance and happenings on streets, stages, and in galleries.

Francesca Rand enjoys teaching writing classes at NOVA’s Loudoun campus as well as tutoring and coaching local high school students. She has been a writer since her early college days at Canisius College where she delighted in editing and writing for the Quadrangle student and faculty publication  She has always appreciated the power of words and the magic of poetry. She currently writes and edits on a free-lance basis and has been fortunate to work with a diverse group of creative individuals. She is truly grateful for the opportunity to work with this gifted group.

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About Abby Hess

Abby Hess is a publicity assistant for Atticus Books.

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