“Delivering to the Client”
What did you think an artist would pick up on from your poem?
Poet Paul Dickey: Some type of visual suggestion of a computer screen dripping rain and river, mud and fields, beavers, driftwood, a boy going fishing.
What inspires you in this poem?
Artist Ira Joel Haber: Well, I guess it worked very well for me, as I was inspired to do a series of new collages that came from what I took from the poem. There were many nature elements in the poem that I tried to imagine in my pieces.
Did the visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Paul Dickey: The farm as family archival, generational memory.
What surprised you when you saw the poem and art together?
Artist Ira Joel Haber: Not surprised just pleased that the poem and art came together.
What surprised you about this collaborative piece?
Poet Paul Dickey: That the artist depicted quite accurately, I think, many other farm poems I have written and a theme in which I thought I had tired of and had avoided in this poem. Somehow perhaps he saw beyond the images of this particular poem to the unconscious essence in many of my earlier farm poems and which still informs the current one.
When you began this piece, was it color, shape, or some other aspect that you followed? Did that change?
Artist Ira Joel Haber: This is the first broadside that I’ve done that was a completely new work. For previous collaborations I’ve worked with existing art works and then played with them in Photoshop, changing them. But with this one I began by doing a series of collages based on the images that I picked up and out of the poem, and farms and nature stood out for me, so I based my collages on that. I then played with them in Photoshop with what I thought were good results.
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 Paul Dickey: I have a poem “Rothko’s Yellow Band” in which I try to create subtext and story for the abstract expressionist work so that it seems traditional, narrative, and realistic—but also stays true to Rothko. I wanted to explore the question of how two works of art (one, a rather perhaps “humdrum,” confessional poem and the other, an abstract visual masterpiece) possibly could simultaneously be “nothing like each other” and also be “the same thing.” My book also has a poem “Blue Nude” that tries to have an artistic conversation with a watercolor of Georgia O’Keeffe.
If you had to represent the Broadsided of “Delivering to the Client” with one word, what would it be?
Poet Paul Dickey: Joint custody (or is that two words)?
Artist Ira Joel Haber: Delivered
Read any good books lately?
Poet Paul Dickey: Baudelaire. Petit Poemes en Prose
Artist Ira Joel Haber: I just read a very well done biography of the pop singer Johnnie Ray, and I also read Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow, which is a novel based on the Collyer Brothers who were these very strange and eccentric horders to end all horders.
Seen any good art lately?
Poet Paul Dickey: My wife, daughter, and I visited the newly opened Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR last fall. I was particularly intrigued by Devorah Sperber’s “After The Last Supper”, 2005. I surely wasn’t expecting to see the classic Leonardo image in a faithful mirror image, duplicated with 20,736 spools of thread.
Artist Ira Joel Haber: I’m always at the museums and galleries. The Dubuffet show at Pace and the Happenings show at Pace were worthy. The Met Museum always has great shows and I’m looking forward to seeing the Stein collection there. They just opened the new American wing after a long renovation, and that is magnificent. The same goes for the recently opened Arabic wing.
Artist Ira Joel Haber: This is what my 5th or 6th broadsided piece and I always love the experience of seeing my work along side a good poem.
Poet Paul Dickey: Ira, Elizabeth:
When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
—Macbeth (I, i, 1-2)