I’ve known Max for a few years now. He is one of the poets I point people towards when I speak of my own collaborative practise being a form of autodidactic pedagogy. I saw him work, live, and realised his poetry was a permission. I too could work in the pocket, improvising around concepts which are complex and paradoxical but boil down to a dark awkward humour, which skewers pretension in poetry, which is too often pretentious due to a lack of self-awareness or self-righteousness which seems increasingly ripe.
I always try and present collaborations at my own event which are satirical, to offset the perception of my hand in the shaping of the event, or to ironise the role of the host / curator. In this case I suggested to Max we do something around awards and poetry award culture. We worked up a loose structure and then improvised the rest. People believed more of it than I would’ve thought likely.
The poem I wrote, which I suggested was Max’s most famous poem, translated, was written that afternoon, on a scrap of paper, scanned here, when myself and all the poets met during the day for lunch and rehearsals.
It was written in response to conversation from the night before and is dedicated to Frederic Forte, whose rainbows are poetry and whose poetry are rainbows.