Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"Six Little Things"--Ersatz Collaboration?

I first discovered the modest, quarterly, online, literary magazine "Six Little Things" when I was searching for work by one of my former profs at the University of Alabama, Ashley McWaters. I enjoy her piece, which can be found in issue two, even now.

Anyway, about "Six": As you might have gleaned from the zine title, each issue of "Six" features six pieces; and as you likely did not surmise, the pieces are small paragraphs, or prose poems if you prefer that phrase. Each of the six proems is conjoined with an image/drawing/photograph. But here's where my title emerges: I believe that each issue of "Six" is not the result of ekphrasis, but rather the process of the editor pairing an accepted proem with an image. I've drawn this conclusion both because nowhere on the site does it mention that the proems were written because of/in response to their accompanying images, and because I enjoy theorizing about conspiracies of verisimitude. But does this really lessen the effect of "Six"? Is an issue not the result of legitimate collaboration because the work of artist and proet was not engaged until post-composition? Why should I or anyone else be dubious about effective artwork simply because it's the product of collaboration discreet from the composers? It seems to me that as long as the pairing is logical and organic, that the combined result of image and picture is greater than one of the pieces on its own, then legitimate colloboration has occurred. Of course, it's necessary for the artist to give his or her consent to such a pairing. Consider the recent cases of posthumous releases by rappers Big L, 2pac, and the Notorious B.I.G.: Because these artists could not give their approval to some of the duets, the songs often seem arbitary and forced.

Back to "Six": The latest issue, number 7 entitled "X Is the New Y," features the black and white line drawings of Brian Pera linked with six short works. I particularly recommed Sarah Fran Wisby's piece "normal boys." Because I live in Champaign, I cannot count myself among the addressees. But I do envy the surname Wisby.

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