The idea for Yoko's Dogs came about in 2006 around a small tin table in Montreal when the four of us, living in different places and time zones, got together and decided to explore collaboration as a way of expanding our individual practice. Over the first few months we wrote and revised, and wrote some more; read and studied and discussed the traditions of Japanese-style linked verse, all via email. We chose a system of composition and eventually decided that for readers the mechanics of this system should disappear, the way forms for moulded concrete are knocked away once the work is finished.
In 2008, we met for a three-day writing party in Marshland, Ontario. Here we composed our first site-specific poem and substantially revised earlier work. At this meeting we also found our name, in one of our earliest images:
Yoko's house is dark, her dogs
tied in front, too cold to bark.
Since then we have continued to work from distant places, meeting annually to compose and revise. With the publication of our first full-length collection, Whisk (Pedlar Press, 2013), we began to explore polyphonic composition and performance.
We launched Rhinoceros (Gaspereau Press, 2016) in Whitehorse at Haiku Canada’s 2016 Weekend. In 2017, Yoko’s Dogs was honoured to be on the program for Haiku North America’s Conference in Santa Fe where all four of us did a polyphonic presentation of our work. Our next full-length collection, In the Lawless Afterlife, is under consideration by publishers.
In keeping with tradition, which we happily and radically break in order to invent anew, the Doggies' practice is rigorous, exacting, challenging, and exuberant: arf for arf's sake!