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“Indigenous”

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 Nicolas Destino: An image of isolation, something sparse I guess.

What inspires you in this poem?
Artist Christoph Keller: Its dreamy, trompe-l’oeil quality. Who in NYC can resist a snow-globe with penguins and icebergs? Then add that clay moon …

Did the visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Nicolas Destino: Yes. The artist illuminated the space I hadn’t pictured, the city, though viewed from the inside of a glass container. When I wrote the poem I envisioned only the contents inside the snow globe, neglecting that one would also have a view of the outside from inside. The artist’s image is improbable and stirring. I keep looking at it, finding something new in it every time.

What surprised you about this piece, once you saw the artwork and poem together?
Artist Christoph Keller: That it worked.

What surprised you about this collaborative piece?
Poet Nicolas Destino: The difference between the artist’s and my visual interpretations. I’m very literal, only seeing as far as the description.

When you began this piece, was it color, shape, or some other aspect that you followed? Did that change?
Artist Christoph Keller: I wanted to find penguins (not in Central Park Zoo), and I didn’t, obviously, and yet a found the right kind of dome all of this is or is not (as the poem has it) taking place.

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 Nicolas Destino: Yes, many times. My husband is a painter. It’s difficult not to, being surrounded by paintings. We put his animal paintings up in the bedroom, so they’re the last thing I see before sleeping. The giraffes worked their way it into a short fiction piece, and I wanted to do a series of poems on animals. It’s also a good writing exercise when I can’t think of anything to write. “Indigenous” is actually written about a snow globe I’d made over the winter. Snow globe making is a hobby of mine.

If you had to represent the Broadsided of “Indigenous” with one word, what would it be?
Poet Nicolas Destino: Breakthrough.
Artist Christoph Keller: Snow-globe-y

Read any good books lately?
Poet Nicolas Destino: The last book I read: Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. Not great literature, but it was a nice break from more serious writing. I’m not a big reader of novels or fiction in general. Right now there are at least ten books sitting half-read on my nightstand. One of my favorite books is Juliana Spahr’s The Transformation.
Artist Christoph Keller: Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live. A Life of Montaigne.

Seen any good art lately?
Poet Nicolas Destino: Betty McGeehan had a solo show recently of her sculptures, made with bent wood and found objects. It is one of the most beautiful collections of work I’ve ever seen. I’ve also fallen in love with Robert Pillsbury’s drawings, and Seth Ruggles Hiler’s landscapes. The artwork of the broadsides, too, keeps me returning to the images.
Artist Christoph Keller: The Estate of Rochelle F by Rochelle Feinstein at On Stellar Rays Gallery.

Anything else?
Poet Nicolas Destino: The broadside experience promotes art as one thing. This is valuable. When I’m bogged down by divisions and fences of genre, forms, and the taxonomy of art/s, this is edible proof that art is one thing in different ways. We need this. Art preceding the name/s.