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Collaborators’ Q&A

What did you think an artist would pick up on from your poem?
Poet Luisa A. Igloria: The poem’s central concerns/themes pertaining to the lives and labors of immigrants and marginalized people within our communities: their courage, their nerve, their verve.

What inspires you in this poem?
Artist Løchlann Jain: I loved the light touch of the poem.

Did the visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Luisa A. Igloria: Perhaps it made me more acutely conscious of some of the lists the poem makes: the way it itemizes things, as if to render them up for accounting.

When you began this piece, was it color, shape, or some other aspect that you followed? Did that change?
Artist Løchlann Jain: I wanted to get at the sort of floating detail, the ways that the poem suggests concrete objects—but only suggests them.

What surprised you about this collaborative piece?
Poet Luisa A. Igloria: Perhaps, the decision of the artist to not include human figures in the work. But I liked the decision to render the art work in stark black and white, as line drawings. That seemed appropriate, that there were all these bristly edges included in the field of the drawing.
Artist Løchlann Jain: That the drawing suggests another poem beside it, in a different language.

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 Luisa A. Igloria: Yes, many times. My 2009 collection Juan Luna’s Revolver (University of Notre Dame Press), for one, was directly inspired by the work of the Filipino painter Juan Luna, one of a cohort of Filipino writers and artists who lived and studied in Europe in the late 1800s and from there helped to inspire a grassroots revolution against the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines.

Juan Luna’s painting “The Spoliarium,” depicting two fallen gladiators being dragged out of the arena and into the anteroom where their bodies will be stripped in preparation for burning, won one of only three gold medals awarded at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884 in Madrid.

The other poems I wrote for Juan Luna’s Revolver looked in addition at photographs taken of Filipino subjects brought to serve as live exhibits at the 1904 World’s Fair and Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri. Writing from and on these artworks/photographs felt urgent and necessary, and made me realize that the questions and issues confronting writers/artists/people of color in the past continue to speak directly to us in the present moment.

How does literature fit into your creative life as a visual artist?
Artist Løchlann Jain: As a professor I read and teach literature; it is integral to my life and work.

Describe the collaboration in one word.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria: Stark
Artist Lochlann Jain: Fun

If the Broadsided collaboration were a piece of music, what would it be?
Poet Luisa A. Igloria: Tango. Or something heated but precise.
Artist Løchlann Jain: Rising Appalachia

Read any good books lately?
Poet Luisa A. Igloria: Mia Alvar’s collection of quietly devastating stories, In the Country.
Artist Løchlann Jain: Edward Hooper, The River.

Seen any good art lately?
Poet Luisa A. Igloria: Last December, visiting the Tate Modern in London, I loved the works of Rebecca Horn on exhibit then: her Cockatoo Mask, her Unicorn, her Mechanical Body Fan.

Anything else?
Poet Luisa A. Igloria: There’s something like call-and-response to any collaboration. I like how it asks of us to attend and to listen.

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