What made you think of Broadsided for this poem?
Poet Lisa Allen Ortiz: I love the project of vectoring poems that Broadside has taken on. This poem has a bee in it (and addresses the subjects of love and exhalation ), and I thought bees, love and exhalation would be good things to spread around with paper and tape!
What inspires you in this poem? What drew you to it?
Artist Karen Cappotto: The breath of the poem.
Describe your dream “vectorization”—where, in your wildest dreams, would you most like to see this broadside posted in the world?
Artist Karen Cappotto: To see this collaboration projected, like a bee hovering, over Provincetown’s harbor.
Poet Lisa Allen Ortiz: I think plastered along the halls of the West Wing of the White House is a good idea.
What did you think an artist would pick up on from your poem? Did the visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Lisa Allen Ortiz: Honestly, I was worried there would be a bee in the artwork, and, although I could not imagine an alternative, that seemed clunky. So I was so delighted to see Karen’s take on the poem, in which she captured the airiness and joyful disorientation that I feel the poem has. I also like that there is a bit of text in her multi-media piece. I love the Blaise Pascale quote that’s something like “if I had more time I would have made this letter shorter,” and I worked this poem to be as short as time allowed. I feel like the text in Karen’s blousy collage is the little buzz of missing parts, the edited parts, the remainder of the upside-down day.
Have you ever created artwork inspired by literature outside of Broadsided Press? What was that experience like for you? Why were you inspired to do so?
Artist Karen Cappotto: Literature has inspired me ever since I can remember…. I often produce artwork on the pages of found vintage books. Words on a page can be visually compelling.
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 Lisa Allen Ortiz: Yes! Many times! Sometimes, honestly, it can feel like cheating to write about art. So much mediation of the world has been done already by the artist that it’s easy just to riff on the abstraction. But I most like ekphrastic writing when it feels like a conversation—-a conversation that the artist might not get to hear. (I always send the poem to any artist that is living, albeit sometimes to dubious email addresses.) Lately I’ve made a project of writing about classical paintings of the same subject done by different artists—-all the versions of Goliath and Sampson and Judith etc. I don’t entirely understand that project yet, but it’s been very generative and weird.
If this broadside were a type of weather, what would it be?
Poet Lisa Allen Ortiz: A bountifully buzzing July morning.
Artist Karen Cappotto: A sun shower.
Read any good books lately?
Poet Lisa Allen Ortiz: Uh, hell ya. I hope everyone on earth reads The Overstory, a novel about trees by Richard Powers. If you like this poem, read Emily Dickinson’s bee poems which are much better than mine. If you want a page-turner of a poetry collection with excellent love poems in it, pick up Dorianne Laux’s new collected called Only as the Day is Long.
Artist Karen Cappotto: Turn Back Your Age Clock
Seen any good art lately?
Poet Lisa Allen Ortiz: The French photographer JR has a digital photography installation at the SF MOMA that will make you love humanity.
Artist Karen Cappotto: I live in an artist colony, so yes, almost every day I have the privilege of seeing some really good art.
Anything else? (Here, we invite the collaborators to invent a question, add a comment, or otherwise speak to what the questions so far have not tapped about their Broadsided experience).
Poet Lisa Allen Ortiz: A small thing done well has explosive power. Bless the small explosive power of Broadsided and all the small explosions made by each of us who print and post beauty in the world.
Artist Karen Cappotto: Thank you Lisa Allen Ortiz and Elizabeth Bradfield for taking this collaborative leap with me…