Monday, April 15, 2013

A.J. Verdelle, Novelists, and Collaboration

Interesting how chance meetings spark ideas.

After my presentation focusing on digital humanities -- and especially the need for us to consider news-gathering and study groups or collaboration -- at the College Language Association (CLA) conference, the novelist A. J. Verdelle approached me, introduced herself, and said we should follow up the conversation at some point. Cool. We will.

In the meantime, meeting her at that moment led me to shift or really expand some of my thinking on collaboration. Since I tend to write primarily about poetry, that's the realm where I think about and offer examples related to poetry. But what, I wondered, about novels, novelists, and collaboration?

Later, I caught some of Verdelle's own presentation at CLA, and she wondered aloud about collaboration since novelists seem to spend so much time alone writing. At the same time, I was thinking about how special it was to catch this novelist talking about her research and teaching interests, with her identity as a novelist playing somewhat of the background. How do Verdelle (the researcher, the teacher, and the conference presenter) and all communities associated with those subject positions contribute to and collaborate with Verdelle the novelist or other writers when she or they go away alone to write?      

There's far more to consider on these issues of collaboration, and I do hope to follow-up at some point. For now consider this: My interactions with Verdelle and others after my presentations constituted instances of cooperation, exchange, contribution, and reconsideration of central ideas. In other words, my thinking about collaboration after the presentation was the result of collaboration. 

Digital Humanities at CLA 2013

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