How did that come about? Thisaway:
Back in 1988 Helen read my poem "Universe Cat" and sent me a fan letter. It was my first ever, and included a cat poem of her own. Touched, I replied. Shortly afterwards I met her at a writers' gathering. and that was the start of a long friendship. By now we have total permission to call each other on our shit, insult each other outrageously, demand to know intimate details of what's going on with each other (and get answered honestly), and request — and receive — all kinds of help or rescue at a moment's notice.
In 2008 Leigh and Delaina both attended a workshop at the University of Arizona and, as Leigh tells it, bonded afterwards over a 99 cent bean and cheese burrito the size of a football. That both were poets and feminists no doubt helped.
In 2009 Leigh and I both participated in one of the September poem-a-day challenges John Hewitt used to run at his Writers' Resource Centre website. I was enraptured by her writing, and at one point felt moved to hunt her up on facebook and make a friend request, accompanied by the message, 'I love a woman who isn't afraid to say "fuck" in a poem'. Then John Hewitt started the facebook group Free Verse for Fun and made both Leigh and me co-administrators.
Helen asked if I knew any online poetry groups worth joining, so I added her to that one. She agreed that the members are the real deal as poets, not the "bunch of wankers" she'd found elsewhere, and entered in with cries of relief. And at some point Delaina joined too, and we started taking notice of her words. We discovered we're all very much on the same wavelength. We're mad about each other, and about each other's poetry.
John Hewitt doesn't do the September challenge any more, but there are various April challenges in conjunction with National Poetry Month in the US (which, online, has become international). This year, after we all participated, and shared the results on facebook as well, Delaina suggested we join forces to produce a book of our April poems for 2014.
So we did, and it's been a lot of work — which has taken place in great harmony, all contributing according to our strengths.
We're starting to get it up on various ebook sites and are planning the virtual launch, with all sorts of goodies to give away to those who buy the book then.
Stay tuned for date and details!