We sat down with our authors so that we could share a little bit about how they connect to the chapbooks they’ve written for us, and to their writing in general. Here’s our interview with MA|DE about their chapbook, Test Centre.
When did you start writing?
While the two constituent parts of MA|DE have been writing independently for decades, we have only been operating as a functional poetic amalgamation since early 2018.
What inspired you to write Test Centre?
An accident. We were trying to write a poem and it was going poorly, so we split up the metaphors, made them literal, and then multiplied them until we had a chapbook.
Who have been your biggest inspirations, as a writer?
Mostly, we are inspired by people who are not writers.
Is there a writing project that you’re planning on tackling next?
Oh. Well, it is mostly a secret, but we can tell you that it involves the alphabet.
Is there something you’re trying to accomplish, as a writer?
Mainly, we are trying to finish more poems. Our secondary goal is arguably to stave off the terrifying loneliness and boredom of existence by working on seemingly purposive partner projects.
How would you describe your writing process?
Imagine being at a desolate fetish club whose only occupants are two fully-dressed people arguing over semantics, syllable placement, and the politics of art, while playing ping-pong.
What’s your favourite thing about your own writing?
We typically write poems by taking turns writing successive lines, but after a few weeks we are no longer able to remember which of us wrote any given line. That sense of alienation from oneself is very invigorating.
What do you find different about chapbooks vs other styles of writing?
Chapbooks are simple and cheap to produce, which allows us repressed types to engage in a certain degree of liberating recklessness with respect to content and presentation. For the even more repressed, the shortness of chapbooks offers an opportunity to focus on a particular conceit or form or subject that might be tedious at book length.
Where do you situate yourself as an author and with your work?
Collaborative writing still exists in the realm of ‘categorical fringe-ness’— which is to say, we have company here but not much. Notably, though, we did recently see former ZED author Khashayar Mohammadi reading collaborative poems with Augur editor Terese Mason Pierre at a Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night) in Toronto, which felt like an auspicious omen.
What is one question you would want to ask future ZED Press authors?
How do you propose to turn ZED Press into a prestigious literary institution whose name brings notoriety and acclaim to all associated authors?
How does working as a poetic duo affect your creation process and how does that differ from what you’d produce working solo?
Mark is the unruly branches of the tree and Jade is the pruning shears. The topiaries they create usually take the shape of unfamiliar cryptids, creatures that do not show up in either of their more focused individual work.
What is the significance of making poetry centred around a series of tests?
Anyways. Test Centre was built on a momentary preoccupation with researching a subject that interested us and we were not particularly concerned with any external concept of “significance.” We assume that it is readers who assess any text’s significance or lack thereof. Nevertheless, we were also aware that any attempt to quantify and qualify human beings via testing has complex political, sociological, psychological, and philosophical implications. It seemed arguably worthwhile to attempt to investigate and reveal what those implications might be.
That’s all for this interview; thanks for reading! If you want to read more about MA|DE and Test Centre, check out our chapbooks page! If you’re interested in attending one of our upcoming events or keeping up to date with the press, check out our facebook page for more info!