In the summer of 2009, poets Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott traveled to five distinct ecosystems in British Columbia, leaving a single copy of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species to decay for a year in each remote outdoor location. A year later the texts were retrieved, photographed and documented, and worked into Decomp, an extended photoÂessay and prose poem. The poets allowed nature to make 'selections' from Darwin'stext, via decomposition. Each distinct ecosystem offered a different 'reading' of (and through) the rotting book's pages. As evolution works, in Timothy Morton's words, 'Âthrough constant rewritings of the DNA sequence,' so the poets found themselves faced with a constantly rewritten Darwin. The final text is 'made up of all kinds of viral code insertions so you can't tell which bit is original.'
Through colourful photo reproductions and prose meditations on their found texts, Collis and Scott have produced a work that moves beyond the typical dualisms of nature and writing Â dualisms still active in Darwin's own book.
About the authors
New Westminster, BC native Jordan Scott is a graduate student in creative writing at the University of Calgary. He has published several chapbooks, including A Walking History of Wladyslaw's Body In Parts and Mere Mismemory. His work has also appeared in Matrix, Filling Station, and other journals. He lives in Calgary.
Stephen Collis is an award winning poet, activist, and professor of contemporary literature at Simon Fraser University. His poetry books include Anarchive (2005), The Commons (2008), On the Material (2010 — awarded the BC Book Prize for Poetry), and the forthcoming To the Barricades (2013). He has also written two books of criticism, including Phyllis Webb and the Common Good (2007). His collection of essays on the Occupy movement, Dispatches from the Occupation (2012), comes out of his activist experiences and is a philosophical meditation on activist tactics, social movements, and change. A Jack and Doris Shadbolt Fellow at Simon Fraser University in 2011/12, Collis has read and lectured across Canada, the United States, and Europe. The Red Album is his first novel.
Other titles by Jordan Scott
Other titles by Stephen Collis
A History of the Theories of Rain
Selected Serial Poems
Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten
Once in Blockadia
Phyllis Webb and the Common Good ebook
The Red Album
Dispatches from the Occupation
A History of Change