Percapella collaboration with Christopher Connelly, “Skanky Tots” song setting by Gene Cawley.


A couple years ago, Deep Image Poet Christopher Connelly and I embarked on a collaborative poem project. We began to write and edit these poems in 2002-3.  Some on a typewriter, others by hand, others on a laptop personal computer. We make no claim that these poems are good. As a matter of fact, the shittier the poems, the greater connection and kinship we felt to each other.

Shanna Compton’s micropress Half Empty/Half Full won the right to publish the chapbook when it went to auction.  Here is a file to the full booklet [pdf] Take it; it’s yours.

Singer-songwriter Gene Cawley set to music one of the signature collaborations, “Skanky Tots.”

Here are the performances. Listen to these. They’re brilliant.

“Skanky Tots” (demo)

“Skanky Tots”

Here is the text to DIP’s introduction:

Applying our critical acumen to the often woefully undisciplined field of poetry was simply a challenge Mr. Nester and I could not resist. To bring the rigor of science and the grace of mathematics to the poem was our goal, and I would have to say we exceeded even the wildest of our own expectations. “You can’t have an idea that’s too big!” I remember shouting to Dan at one particularly trying point during our collaboration.

Our “laboratory” was the dingy, dimly lit conference room of NYU’s Expository Writing Program and, occasionally, a bar. Our only instruments: a virtually antique typewriter, Dan’s laptop, and an illimitable ability to conduct thought experiments. Sometimes we worked with the lights off and laughed because we felt like refugee scientists developing some secret weapon that, when unleashed, might turn the tide in the war of words.

He a word, then me a word, and on until exhaustion. When we needed a rhyme we threw the I Ching. Need it really be said that “Burlap panty” grew from a particularly abrasive “romantic” encounter and bends backwards from there to lick God? The coinage in the poem we call “OK. So you ask” (“stripeful” is the invented word, if you need ask) should soon begin appearing in dictionaries.

Concerning the rumors that have circulated regarding these poems I make only one rejoinder–I did not write all the dirty words. Any misspellings, however, I confess are my fault.

–Christopher Connelly
New York, 2002


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