What happens to the poems in rout/e is somewhat unknown, once I’ve planted them along the trails. There have been times when they’ve been far enough away (or in a direction I don’t go very often) that I haven’t returned to them for a year or two. I’ve commented in a low-key way before about this. For the most part, the poems stand up very well in all types of weather, but the most predictable component of this footpress is the unpredictable. Kudos and appreciations to the poets who are willing to contribute a poem that might become destroyed or, with weathering and other conditions, change. Because each ‘planting’ is made up of 5-10 poems only, and they’re spread out on various trails, the readability of the poems is subject to the numbers of folks who use the trails – and, honestly, on some trails that won’t be a lot of folks. A few times, the poem has been destroyed or changed – by paintballs or removal – but a few other times, some unknown person has been a ‘caretaker’ for the poem. This has happened to angela rawlings’ “The Great Canadian”; Amanda Earl’s “until even now” and, more recently, Jason Christie’s “Trail”.
angela rawlings‘ “The Great Canadian” has been detailed in the link above – and recently was rendered into a incredibly lovely chapbook by Michael Flatt of Low Frequency Press. Amanda Earl‘s “until even now” was placed beside a beaver pond in Marlborough Forest, surrounded by wild strawberries and a fringe of trees. When I walked by it in the fall, the stake for the poem was absent and someone had placed her poem in a tree, visible, but safe. Amanda and I have collaborated on a video-poem, which is available on Vimeo, using an image or two of her poem, as well as open source images and clips.
Jason Christie‘s contribution, “Trail”, was placed in Merrickville, Ontario in fall of 2015. A few weekends ago I walked along a corduroy road/track from Scotch Line to Merrickville, passing by rout/e contributions by Bob Hogg and bruno neiva, respectively (more on those in another post soon), and came upon Christie’s poem. It had been moved from its former site, which would have just edged the flood zone in spring melt. I found it on higher ground, lying near a tree on higher ground. It had not been damaged; it could not have been planted because the ground was frozen, so someone had placed “Trail”on the ground with its plexi-face facing down. I stood the poem upright again against the tree – and, because I think there might be an Easter gathering somewhere near that point this year, wonder what will happen next. Attached to the poem via a q-code is a link to this: https://jasonchristie.bandcamp.com/album/trailing. For a couple of years now, some of the poems have been accompanied by a q-code that links to a sonic piece of the poet’s choice. Christie’s poetry is enjoyable to read – carefully crafted with a clear line of wit. above/ground press recently published his chapbook, The Charm.