the third of Ryan Van Winkle's commiserate series

Commiserate the Third: Kirsten Irving

‘Commiserate’ is an experiment in poetic collaboration born out of SJ Fowler’s Enemies project. As part of his reading series at Rich Mix, he invited Kirsten Irving and I to collaborate.

This Month: Kirsten Irving

Ryan says: I have long been amazed by Kirsten’s work. I first encountered her as an editor of the ambitious, pocket-sized, magazine Fuselit circa 2005. Since then, she (and editor Jon Stone) have built an invigorating publishing house specializing in curious team-ups, highly original anthologies & multi-media dazzle. (Seriously, check out Sidekick Books if only for a beautiful, affordable, micro-anthology). She is as inventive an editor as she is a poet. Her début collection ‘Never Never Come Back‘ was published by Salt in 2012 and, as we do here, melds the tragic and ludicrous. Often during this experiment, she kicked my ass and caught my breath.
Kirsten says: I loved collaborating with Ryan. His initial suggestion of a title fired up plenty of ideas, and the process was pretty organic. It’s actually the most enjoyment I’ve had from writing in ages – it had the feel of a versus game, which really fitted the theme – and I’d love to do it again. The final piece was a mixture of pathos, strangeness and dark humour, reflecting both of our personalities while taking us both off at an angle. You need these kinds of collaboration to refresh your work and remind you that poetry can be massively enjoyable and surprising.
When we performed live Kirsten brought a mournful cello backing track and nemesis slide show:

 “Notes to a Nemesis”

And yet, I want to see you again if only
to wrap in my arms if only
to hear one last breath, your eyes
green as shame before closing