The Third Voice. Notes on the Art of Poetic Collaboration

Key West Poet Laureate Emeritus, Kirby Congdon (Photo by Richard Watherwax)

Book Review by Kirby Congdon…….

Eric Greinke has been a figurehead in the field of poetry for decades. He uses his talent in a recent book this year in a consideration of collaborations in writing poetry, having exercised his abilities in half a dozen projects working with prominent talents in this genre.

Mr. Greinke defines “the third voice,” in the first of seven chapters, as a by-product of an interpersonal relationships by transmuting the creative process so that it is transformed and transfigured.

The individual voice of two or three participants bounce back and forth so that both talent and themes coalesce in a “fresh new voice” that has come out of growing together in a blend of activity.

This can be done in a variety of ways, such as when two people take alternate lines or by a more intimate merging of ideas with their conflicts and reconciliations.

As Mr. Greincke moves into his book it beomes a thorough documentary of theory, history, as well as immediate references to the collaborative work itself, illustrating style, explorations and the experiences in this approach to creative poetry, and literature, for any reader.

The Third Voice. Notes on the Art of Poetic Collaboration
by Eric Greinke
Presa Press, 2017, paper back, 84p, $13.95
ISBN: 978 – 0 – 9965026 – 6 – 5


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Kirby Congdon
Kirby Congdon found his calling in the time of the Beat Movement, his poems being published by the New York Times, The New York Herald Tribune and the Christian Science Monitor as well as countless small-press outlets. While influenced by the assertive stance of a new generation in literature, he preferred to set aside the spontaneous approach of his friends and use his work as an exploratory tool in establishing the new identity of his times as well as that of his own maturation. This search was incorporated in 300 works which were compiled in a bibliography by a Dean of the English Department at Long Island University in his retirement and made available in hard-back with an extensive addenda by the literary activists of Presa Press through their skills achieved from the University of Michigan and their own experience which commands a movement in itself of contemporary literary action.

Congdon’s work in poetry covers innumerable treatments of countless subjects in single poems, long treatments on a subject, and many collections of both serious thought and imagination through not only the poetry but through essays, plays and ruminations. Named the first poet laureate of Key West, he received a standing ovation for his reading honoring this position and was the featured poet in a festival celebrating Frank O’Hara in the New York region. He was also asked to read his work as well as give a talk on the country’s national poet laureate, Richard Wilbur, at a seminar honoring that man. Currently, Congdon is working on an autobiography and a collection of complete poems.

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