James Davies of If P Then Q asked me a series of questions about Bring the Thing.
Read the full interview here. It begins:
If P Then Q: What is Bring the Thing about, what are some of the areas you are hoping to address or explore?
David Berridge: I wanted to explore a notational, diary-like writing, closely connected to daily events, thoughts, and conversations. I was interested in a minimal page-based poetry, whose form and structure came from the shifting visual, oral and denotative properties of its words, letters, and syllables. I wanted to bring these two interests together, see how they connected and contradicted each other.
Related to this I was interested in live writing, that takes places in specific locations and times. Often, in my writing, that liveness has been something constructed through many drafts and over a long period of time (BLACK GARDENS, for example, was an act of writing in the moment that then took 18 months to finish). As Bring the Thing developed, it became a way to work between these two senses of time, how writing inhabits and moves between them.
Bring the Thing connected in my mind to that “first thought, best thought” (of Allen Ginsberg and Bernadette Mayer) and also the “my condensery” (of Lorine Niedecker). I thought (as Mayer says somewhere of Midwinter Day) that I might be getting the mind prepared for a response in the moment. More likely I think the space I work in is one of lags, delays, reconstruction, fiction, proposition, and time travel in all directions.
If P Then Q:Can you explain the choice of form for the book, 100 days?
David Berridge: I read the book whole for Footsy Index in Camberwell in June, and Jeff Hilson, who was also reading, asked me if I had written it in 100 days. And I said no, but then afterwards I thought, maybe it was 100 days. The main period of writing would have been about that duration. Maybe exactly that duration.
I think early on I had some of the fragments and sequence in place, but without the framing of days. I also probably expected that one per page would work well. But that didn’t seem to have the right shape or rhythm, create the right experience in the page or book space.
The framework of 100 days seemed to create that, and prompted the writing and shaping of the rest of the sequence, as well as the arrangement of days on the page. It wasn’t a constraint that determined the writing from the beginning, but it was one that shaped and edited, that emerged out of the writing itself and questions about what kind of architecture it required.
Continue reading here.