The Third Voice – Notes on the Art of Poetic Collaboration

The Third Voice – Notes on the Art of Poetic Collaboration


In The Third Voice, poet Eric Greinke memorializes and analyzes his collaborations with five accomplished poets (Harry Smith, John Elsberg, Hugh Fox, Glenna Luschei and Alison Stone) over a twelve year period. From each of the collaborations, a “third voice” emerged that represented the shared persona of the poet-participants. In Chapter One, Greinke examines several major factors that influence the formation of a collaborative third voice in poetry and his early experiences of collaboration.  Chapter Two examines parallel dialogical collaboration, a form where poets write whole poems independently but in specific response to each other’s poems.  Chapter Three is about an evolving collaboration which began in parallel form and developed into three increasingly more integrated collaborative projects. Chapter Four describes his intensely emotional collaboration with a fellow poet with terminal cancer. Chapters Five and Six recall his two cross-gender and generational collaborations. In Chapter Seven, Greinke identifies ten dimensions of collaborative personae, including tense and persona, interpersonal, regional, gender and generational diversity, play, and compatibility factors.  Includes numerous examples of collaborative poems throughout the text.  In The Third Voice, Greinke writes from both head and heart while making his case for the expansion of a poet’s style through collaboration.

(Presa Press, 2017, 84 pages, ISBN 978-0-9965026-6-5, Trade Paperback, $13.95 USA)

“Eric Greinke has been a figurehead in the field of poetry for decades.  He uses his talent in a recent book this year in a consideration of collaborations in writing poetry, having exercised his abilities in half a dozen projects working with prominent talents in this genre.  As Mr. Greinke moves into his book, it becomes a thorough documentary of theory, history, as well as immediate references to the collaborative work itself, illustrating style, explorations and the experiences in this approach to creative poetry, and literature, for any reader.”     — Kirby Congdon, The Blue Paper, Key West


“Did you ever sit at the feet of someone, say a grandparent or some other elder in your life, who shared stories of their long life/career/travels, bask in their memories, and perhaps learn from them?  That was the feeling I had throughout my reading of Eric Greinke’s The THIRD Voice:  Notes on the Art of Poetic Collaboration.  In language that borrows from both literary theory and the social work/therapy realms, Greinke deconstructs those collaborations so readers understand how they came about, how the work grew out of his relationship with each poet, and what Greinke ultimately learned about poetry and the art of collaboration.  He shares pieces that were written in those collaborations as examples of how two different voices may come together in a third, new voice.  Perhaps this idea is one of the biggest take-aways of The THIRD Voice:  Poetry can be a lot of fun, word play is truly play, and who doesn’t like to have fun playing with others?  Poetic collaboration is more than play, of course.  It offers poets so many opportunities for expanding their work and for working through tough topics.  Overall, this gentle, nostalgic look at the poetic collaborations Eric Greinke has enjoyed over his writing life offers one of the best incentives of all for poets who are considering their options:  Joy.  Collaborate with another poet, let it evolve organically, and reclaim the joy of word play that called to you the day you first fell in love with a poem.”      — Kathleen Cassen Mickelson, Gyroscope Review


“Presa Press published what’s crucial to say across the unseen ties between one person, another, and all of us in Eric Greinke’s The THIRD Voice:  Notes on the Art of Poetic Collaboration.  Greinke’s reverence for collaborative poetry stretches from the early 19702 into recent years, and he’s never limited himself in the possibilities of how combining mind-space with that of a good friend builds strength and art which might not otherwise float on up into this realm of days.  Philosophy bobs and knits onward at the second surface of Greinke’s writing paired with the voices of fellow poets.  The beautiful mush of two brains clinking together their quirks and curiosities – and obscure or not-really-so-obscure-at-all thoughts housed in them, is a welcome specificity in stanzas.  And while he didn’t say it directly, the most vital point and beauty of what he conveys, in other words—poetry-drenched ones—resonates:  the world and its people need poetry. This book’s language and goals are necessary and will show readers the often-untested waters of what we can achieve when we support each other at a heart-level while we’re on this earth.”      — Jennifer Hetrick, North Of Oxford


“I would be remiss not to include Eric’s fascinating study of working with a diverse group of five poets to create what he calls the third voice.  The five poets, three men and two women, all have distinct and completely different approaches to poetic compositions.  I can generally say that Greinke, a poet of wide range and broad poetic sensibilities, adjusts to each author and they to him.  They create work of outstanding merit well worth exploring.  I can’t recall having read a more thoughtful, more revealing examination of what it is like for two skilled poets to work together than this book.  A must for anyone interested in the process of collaborative exchange.”      — Misfit Magazine



“If you are considering a poetic collaboration in the near future, you might enjoy The THIRD Voice:  Notes on the Art of Poetic Collaboration by Eric Greinke.  Reading about poetic collaborations—more specifically, a poet’s personal journey over decades of collaborative experiences—is worthwhile, and so interesting.  It’s neat, and fascinating, telling, even introspective of our own voices.  Any journey spent in pursuit of poetry is joyful indeed.  This book did not let me down.  I haven’t been interested in collaborating with another poet, but I’ve long been fascinated by those who do this.  It’s risky and wonderful and not knowing what’s going to happen might be the best thing about it.  If you are thinking about a poetic collaboration, or you are simply fascinated by those who produce poetry this way, this book is a rare glimpse into this largely unexplored area of artistic expression.  It’s worth a look.”

–Glenn Lyvers, Prolific Press