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“Landing Under Water, I See Roots”

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 Annie Finch: I thought they’d pick up on the imagery of trees and roots.

What inspires you in this poem?
Artist Jennifer Moses: I was inspired to think about the undercurrents of things and how there is a private embedded subtext in our brains in our chests. It drives us and runs deep.

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 Jennifer Moses: I went straight for the color and how I would depict a watery world. I also wanted a disparate language of sharp edges existing within the rolling waves.

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 Jennifer Moses: I liked the openness of form and how the image and the words interact. I also loves the collaged surface and the surprise of how beautifully the different materials like embroidery and watercolor existed so seamlessly together.

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 Jennifer Moses: I really like to see the both the similarities and the differences in the responses. I love to play the looking game of taking a big narrative topic like the annunciation and tracking different artists responses across the ages. Looking at the variety of combinations and responses in the Broadsides gives me the same kind of thrill.

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

If you had to represent Jennifer Moses’s Broadsided collaboration with one word, what would it be?
Poet Annie Finch: Elemental

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 Jennifer Moses: Yes! Andrew Solomon’s Far from the Tree.

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 Jennifer Moses: Yes always! Saw some beautiful new larger collage works by Ambreen Butt also Vera Iliatova’s new work. Iwant to get to New York and see the Max Ernst collages at the Morgan Library and lots of other stuff too!

Anything else?
Poet Annie Finch: Thanks for including me in this series. It’s a fascinating process!

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