Friday, September 11, 2009

Casting the Nines

Well... nine, nine, o-nine just passed, and with it one of the most innovative poetry projects in years. Casting the Nines is a nine-poem-by-nine-poets chapbook on the topic of the number nine (what else?), released by the nine poets on nine, nine, o-nine to nine strangers with the sole instruction to read the poems and pass it on to eight other individuals. Each poet dated and inscribed the first line and all subsequent readers have a place to sign and date and pass it on. The chapbook's concept was invented, designed, improvised and published by Jennifer Bosveld of Pudding House Publications . A call for submissions was made and poems selected by Jennifer to appear in the book. I had a great time giving "Casting the Nines" to street walkers in Cambridge, MA on a beautiful evening with my wife Susan and Golden Retriever Sofie. I think it was a good move having them come along... so much solicitation nowadays, everyone's pretty wary, but nothing so disarming as a two-year old Golden. I had two opening lines: "Do you like poetry?" and "I'm a published poet." The first worked much better (I wonder why!!). Apart from nearly getting a ticket by Cambridge police for an illegal lane change on the ride over (hey, it seemed legal to me)... everything went smoothly. After the snappy retort, "No, I hate poetry," one couple insisted I read my contribution out loud ("Ninth Curl of the Helix), which I did with a great result. The gentleman no longer hates poetry and said he would read the book with great interest. Lots of other stories, but bottom line, it was a great idea which seemed to resonate with folks. Pudding House is thinking of following this up with a much larger endeavor involving the free dispersal of a much larger number of poetry books and going with interesting and provocative themes. Stay tuned!

9 comments:

  1. Love it! Such a great idea. I must say, though, I wish I was one of your lucky 9!!

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  2. That is a very cool idea. Wish I'd thought of it!

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  3. I think this is an awesome project! Hey, didn't Dante have nine circles in the Inferno? You're a genius, Ed! Anne B. Grote

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  4. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of 7-7-7 two years ago. Same idea - still a great one.

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  5. Sounds a really fun idea. And I know what you mean about a golden breaking the ice.

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  6. Brilliant!
    I can't wait to read Night Fires.
    Ken Chichester

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  7. I think you will have more than nine lives as a poet, my dearest Edward, and will right more than nine books of poetry, the same way the number 9 is often the magic number for classical composers since Beethoven (remember, Mahler never finished his 10th!)

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  8. Guy
    You have got to see this. Obama playing on XBox. Funniest video ever. http://bit.ly/bllhx1

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