Tiny Talks with MA|DE

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with MA|DE from our seventh issue. You can read their piece “They Eat Them Weeping” in Collaboration: Issue 7!

Tiny Spoon: What called you to collaborate and what was that process like? 

MA|DE: We started writing together to conquer distance, when we were living an hour away from each other. One of us would sketch out a few lines in a virtual document before going to work, the other would respond after getting home from errands; it was our way of keeping in touch throughout the days. Now that we live together, and now that MA|DE — the name we use for all of our collaborative work — has grown into a creature all its own, our collaboration has become much more deliberate and scheduled. 

Tiny Spoon: Why do you create? 

MA|DE: It’s what we do together. Some couples go out for drinks with their friends on weekends, some couples go hiking. We conspire about poetry.

Tiny Spoon: Where do you find most of your inspiration?

MA|DE: The surreality of daily life as it’s reported by the news can often spark ideas for us, actually. We tend to listen to a lot of public broadcast journalism over dinner, and we’re forever saying to one another, as we listen, ‘Oh, write that down, we have to use that in a poem …” If you read our poems you’d probably never notice that their genesis is in new stories, because there’s nothing overtly political, or even topical about them, but that’s our clay.

Tiny Spoon: What is your dream project?

MA|DE: We’ve actually started working on it now! Tentatively titled Waste Not the Marrow, it’s a book-length series of pieces that combine sculpture, collage, photography and poetry. It’s a big project, and it’ll likely take us a couple of years to complete. The ‘dreaming’ here is not so much the act of creation, which has proven quite doable, but the issue of the project’s future publication. Who might be willing to invest in something that is both literary manuscript and full-colour art book? We’re dreaming up a special thing here, and it’s going to take a special publisher to give it the kind of presentation we’re envisioning. 

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current projects that you are working on that you would like to share? 

MA|DE: We are currently adapting our recent poetry chapbook, A Trip to the ZZOO (Collusion Books, 2020) into a full-length manuscript, ZZOO [pictured below].

Recently, we received a generous grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to complete this project, which felt very affirming for our existence as a collaborative entity, because there historically hasn’t been a lot of institutional support for sustained collaborative work in literature the way there is in music or art. We’re happy to be at the edge of this change.

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others? 

MA|DE: What a task: recommending work to an unknown reader. Here, modestly, is a sample of things we have read or listened to together in the recent past:

  • Joey Yearous-Algozin’s meditative, post-apoc poetry book A Feeling Called Heaven (2021, Nightboat Books); a personalized/collaged gift copy of Conor McDonnell’s new chapbook In the Museum (2021, Above/Ground Press) … he’s tipped in all kinds of interesting images, which he’s been doing to select copies as he sends them out to friends; and, as Halloween is approaching, we finally got around to reading Shirley Jackson’s seminal gothic novel, The Haunting of Hill House (1959, Viking).

  • Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine’s collection of gentle folk duets, A Beginner’s Mind (2021, Asthmatic Kitty); Gazelle Twin & NYX (a NYC electronic drone choir)’s haunting collaborative album Deep England (2021, NYX Collective Records); German folk singer Sibylle Baier’s Colour Green, a collection of songs recorded in the early 1970s but not released until 2006, after they were shopped around by her son more than 30 years after they were made … we’re so glad this one exists! 

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

MA|DE: We have some chapbooks available!

Test Centre from ZED Press: https://zedpress.bigcartel.com/product/test-centre-by-ma-de 

A Trip to the ZZOO from Collusion Books: https://longconmag.com/collusionbooks/a-trip-to-the-zzoo/ 

A Barely Concealed Design from Puddles of Sky Press: https://www.puddlesofskypress.com/ 

Find MA|DE online at http://ma-de.ca and on Twitter and Instagram: @ma_de_projects