I am excited right now about the collectivity of writing poetry; how poems draw from poems. In 2016, soon after arriving in Edinburgh, I was invited to join a collective of women writers who had come together at the request of the Cooper Gallery in Dundee to respond to their exhibition about a 70s collective art movement called the Feministo Postal Art Event. The Postal Art Event began with two artists – Sally Gollop and Kate Walker. When Sally moved away from South London where she and Kate were neighbours to another part of the UK, both women missed sharing their art so began posting small artworks to each other. Other women artists heard of and picked up this idea and in homes across cities, towns and villages in the UK women made, posted and received art and generated a community of artists. We echoed the Feministo Postal Art Event’s process in a 21st Century way, by writing and responding to each other’s work via a shared Google document.
Our collective is called 12. There are twelve of us, we are Edinburgh-based, and we have continued to write and respond to each other’s poems via a shared Google document for more than two years. We sometimes perform our work, and have been asked to respond to several art exhibitions, most recently to Emma Hart’s Banger at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. We are finding that the poems we write for 12 are a bit different to the poems we write outside of that particular circle of response. Why? I’m not sure, but there’s something about being honest about writing from community. About calling our lone selves in from the hills. The collectivity of making is front and centre; no one is pretending otherwise.
Lynn Davidson is a New Zealand writer living in Edinburgh. Her latest poetry collection Islander is published by Shearsman Books and Victoria University Press (out this month). Lynn teaches creative writing, works in Edinburgh libraries and is a member of 12, a feminist poetry collective.