What made you think of Broadsided for this poem?
Poet Kathleen Winter: This is a “public-oriented” poem, inspired by a December 21, 2018, New York Times news article by Caity Weaver. The poem focuses on topics I hope a great many people care about: politics, corporate power, consumerism, environmental degradation—as well as aesthetics (the poets’ bailiwick?) Since one of the missions of Broadsided is to bring art and poetry into the public sphere, into the world, it seems to fit. And based on the poems Broadsided publishes and the books written by its editors, I thought Broadsided readers were likely to connect with the poem’s ironic, humorous tone.
What inspires you in this poem? What drew you to it?
Artist Sarah Van Sanden: I love how this poem moves so smoothly between the promise of science and capitalism and the scourge of corruption and the environmental crisis with obliqueness and wry humor. It’s slick and silly at the same time. These are my favorites!
Describe your dream “Vectorization”—where, in your wildest dreams, would you most like to see this broadside posted in the world?
Artist Sarah Van Sanden: A verdant paradise where a special piece of paper taped onto a tree enriches one’s experience and does not become trash.
Poet Kathleen Winter: I’d love to see our broadside posted in the U.S. Senate cafeteria. And also in the New York Times offices where Caity Weaver works.
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 Kathleen Winter: Sarah’s shaping of glitter into chemical formations is clever and perfect. I’m delighted that she included a handgun and a lipstick, elements from the poem. What surprised and thrilled me even more was her inclusion of a flag, not mentioned in the poem. That choice let me know that the critique of Trump and capitalist ideology had come through without having to include his name.
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 Sarah Van Sanden: I’m more of a designer than an artist. Even with my Broadsided responses, I think of what I create as designs that hinge on the poem more than artwork that stands alone.
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 Kathleen Winter: I’m constantly writing poems inspired by painting, sculpture, film, and archaeological finds—it’s an addiction. My brother and I played “museum” when we were little kids and a museum environment is still almost guaranteed to inspire me. The experience of writing poems about art is challenging because I want to go far beyond description—to make my own art. But it’s joyful because whatever inspires me to write, for example the news article in this case, has already electrified me and added to my experience of this world. My third poetry collection, Transformer, forthcoming in 2020, includes poems inspired by an old photo of a singer/pianist duo, a bowl my mother made, the Elgin Marbles, Aztec ceremonial jewelry, a paleontologist’s discovery of paint (for illuminated manuscripts) lodged in the teeth of a medieval nun, and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
If this broadside were a type of weather, what would it be?
Poet Kathleen Winter: This broadside would be a very cold day, maybe after an ice storm, an afternoon in which all the bare tree limbs and twigs are coated in hard glimmer, and the sidewalks are impassible. Windy—a darkening day with a slick and dangerous white sheen.
Artist Sarah Van Sanden: For me, this broadside would be a sunshower—full of contradictions.
Read any good books lately?
Poet Kathleen Winter: Oh yes. Brittany Perham’s Double Portrait; Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack & Honey; Ian Tattersall’s Masters of the Planet: the Search for Our Human Origins; and Innocence by Penelope Fitzgerald (anything by her is sublime).
Seen any good art lately?
Poet Kathleen Winter: I enjoyed, was disturbed, by the film Parasite and will think about it for months. And at the Phoenix Art Museum in 2019 I saw an amazing exhibition of art from Teotihuacan with my friend Eva, who always brings art into my life. But I need to get out more!
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 Kathleen Winter: Snaps to Sarah Van Sanden and the Broadsided team– I love being part of creative collaborations!
Note: This broadside and interview are included in the anthology, Broadsided Press: Fifteen Years of Poetic/Artistic Collaboration, 2005-2020 (Provincetown Arts Press, 2022).