Lynda Monahan and Rod Thompson are celebrating the publication of their collaborative poetry collection, A Beautiful Stone.
The two writers have been emailing back and forth for about three years and, on Tuesday, celebrated their publication by Radiant Press at the John M. Cuelenaere Library. However, Thompson was unable to attend.
Monahan said it’s refreshing to feel something concrete, considering all of the writing was done online.
She said the book partly reflects on the natural world.
“I spent a lot of my time in the summer months at our cabin at Waskesiu and Rod loves to be out on his boat. He loves to go paddling across the lakes and he’s a great fisherman. And so I think our mutual love of the outdoors probably is one of the reasons that we wrote on the themes that we did,” she said.
She added that because they’re close to the same age, they explored their ancestors and loss: “There’s poems about grandparents and about the death of parents and looking to the future, looking to our own futures. Writing about our own grandchildren, too.”
“We experimented with a number of different ways of writing collaborative poetry in the entire collection.”
The book contains three sections, each consisting of different styles of collaborative poetry.
The first section is all tapestry poems. Monahan said one of them would choose a topic, and they’d each write separate poems following that same theme. They’d then meld them together into one seamless piece.
Second is tanka sequences, a Japanese style of poetry. Monahan said one of them would write a five-line poem, and the other would respond.
The third section contains epiphora writing, which reads like a song. The two poets wrote a stanza, and then a two or three-line refrain, which is similar to a chorus in music.
Monahan now has four published collections of poetry: A Slow Dance in the Flames, What My Body Knows, Verge and now A Beautiful Stone.
“It was a very different process and a very different book for me,” she explained, with her previous collections being largely about relationships.
“For Rod and I, it worked really well because I think we sort of have very much the same aesthetic.”
She thanked Radiant Press for the cover of A Beautiful Stone, which is a mirrored image of water and rocks.
“The cover is a reflection of the two voices. It’s a reflection theme that I think works well in terms of the content of the book.”
Monahan is the Writer in Residence at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library.
Thompson has also had his poetry published in a number of literary journals.
A Beautiful Stone is available through Radiant Press, online and in book stores for $20.