What did you think an artist would pick up on from your poem?
Poet Annie Finch: I thought they’d pick up on the imagery of trees and roots.
What inspires you in this poem?
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: I am inspired (and I’m going to find awkward words here—this is why I tend to communicate visually) by the tone of quiet hope for rebuilding along side the strange embrace of neglect that just happens with valued relationships over time.
Did either visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Annie Finch: Stacy Isenbarger brings the human body into it very clearly, which surprises me by reminding me that it is, after all, a poem about love and relationship. Jennifer Moses does the opposite, making a piece that surprises me by being even more abstract and self-contained than the poem.
When you began this piece, was it color, shape, or some other aspect that you followed? Did that change?
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: The color royal blue had a strong impact in my sketching process but also the idea of limbs being both human and tree. I found myself counting and creating itemized lists of thoughts during my design process too. These ideas progressed and danced their way into my depicted response.
Does anything surprising rise to the surface when you consider the two pieces of art and your poem together?
Poet Annie Finch: It surprises me to be reminded that “Landing Under Water, I See Roots” is, after all, a poem about the possibility of connecting with people, about the spectrum of human connection. Sometimes I forget that because I am so close to the poem’s metaphorical imagery.
What caught your eye in the visual response by your fellow Broadsided artist?
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: There is little green triangle that’s wedged just below the more structural formation within the image and I find the tension of that space perfect in reflection of this poem. When reading “Landing Under Water I See Roots,” I was struck by a sense of someone wanting to collect a more solid foundational support or community and Jennifer’s articulation of this space gestures towards my thoughts on the poem with more success.
Have you ever written work that has been inspired by visual art?
Poet Annie Finch: Yes, often! I’ve written poems inspired by art by Vermeer, Edward Weston, and others, and poems about buildings and murals, and I’ve also done collaborations with a number of visual artists.
What is it like to see both visual responses to the poem?
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: I feel like I’m just part of a deeper dialog about the implications a poem can project. Our visual responses to Annie’s words have similarities and I appreciate feeling I’m on “target” somehow in this regard. But where our work differs challenges and rewards much in the same way a good spiritual debate with a friend can.
If you had to represent Stacy Isenbarger’s collaboration of “Landing Under Water I See Roots” with one word, what would it be?
Poet Annie Finch: Suggestive
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: Levitation
If you had to represent Jennifer Moses’s Broadsided collaboration with one word, what would it be?
Poet Annie Finch: Elemental
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: Mist
Read any good books lately?
Poet Annie Finch: Since the wonderful poet and goddess scholar Patricia Monaghan died recently, I’ve been rereading her books: The Goddess Companion, The Goddess Path, Wild Girls, The Magical Garden… They are all wonderful!
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: Just finished A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit (also an inspiring force to my fixation on the color blue lately) and I’m now digging into Don DeLillo’s Underworld. Good stuff to wander through…
Seen any good art lately?
Poet Annie Finch: I’ve just seen some very good art by a Maine artist named Richard Wilson. He does grids of tiny squares, each with a tiny little scene, and the scenes connect in all the directions—forward, backwards, etc—to make stories. It’s beautiful, archetypal, and intriguing.
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: May I suggest checking out Agatha Gothe-Snape… or Alejandro Almanza Pereda …or this fantastic soul, Ana Trincão… or all of them.
Poet Annie Finch: Thanks for including me in this series. It’s a fascinating process!
Note: This broadside and interview are included in the anthology, Broadsided Press: Fifteen Years of Poetic/Artistic Collaboration, 2005-2020 (Provincetown Arts Press, 2022).