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“A Poem by Brian McGuigan”

Posted on • Words by • Art by

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Collaborators’ Q&A

What did you think an artist would pick up on from your poem?
Poet Kate Lebo: The naming. How each name is too small to completely contain their person.

What inspires you in this poem?
Artist Sarah Van Sanden: I’m fascinated by the way battling familial influences and expectations manifest themselves as extreme duality in one person.

Did the visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Kate Lebo: I love that the roundness of the earth in the last line becomes an apple. And a wolf.

When you began this piece, was it color, shape, or some other aspect that you followed? Did that change?
Artist Sarah Van Sanden: The poem immediately evoked the yin/yang symbol for me and everything followed that lead by drawing forms from the poem.

What surprised you about this collaborative piece?
Poet Kate Lebo: I’m piecing together a voice out of someone else’s voice in this poem. To have that re-spoken or translated or however you want to say it into visual art adds another layer of fluency and another layer of misunderstanding. The poem repurposes someone else’s words. This visual collaboration continues that game of telephone.

Have you ever written work that has been inspired by visual art? What was that experience like for you? Why were you inspired to do so?
Poet Kate Lebo: No, actually. When I’ve written about visual art, it’s been about the materials—the paint and canvas and solvents. Right now, I’m more inspired by what makes things than than made thing itself.

Describe the collaboration in one word.
Artist Sarah Van Sanden: Knitting

Seen any good art lately?
Poet Kate Lebo: Three Studies of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon were at the Portland Art Museum this winter, which lead me to an exhibit on food in one of the lower galleries, where I discovered a print from Wild Raspberries, Andy Warhol and Suzie Frankfurt’s weird and wonderful cookbook.

Read any good books lately?
Poet Kate Lebo: The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. Sorrow Arrow by Emily Kendal Frey. Jelly Roll by Kevin Young. How to Pick a Peach by Russ Parsons.
Artist Sarah Van Sanden: I keep going back to Simon Schama’s Landscape and Memory. I love the way he writes about cultural history’s relationship to landscape in a way that’s dramatic and salacious, but not cheap. Well, mostly not cheap. It’s delicious.

Anything else?
Artist Sarah Van Sanden: Thanks, Kate, for letting me play with your poem!

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