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Collaborators’ Q&A

What inspired you to share your work with Broadsided? What is rewarding, exciting, and/or challenging for you in Broadsided’s unique format?
Poet Tyler Mills: I love collaborations and visual art, and I thought it would be inspiring, and an honor, to see what an artist might do with my poem. When [2020-2021 Guest Editor] Jennifer Perrine invited me to share work for consideration for Broadsided, I was really excited.
Artist Stacy Isenbarger:
Making in response is always a refreshing step outside of my current projects and head space. It’s been a while for me to create for Broadsided, and tinkering with materials for this one really just felt good.

What drew you to create a visual response to this poem, in particular?
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: I was drawn to its light and tangled noting of absence, how it brought out those warm edges of crumbling, breaking, and disconnection.  There is something lucent to savor here as much as to mourn.

What did you think an artist would pick up on from your poem? Did the art make you see the poem differently?
Poet Tyler Mills: I was thinking about absence but didn’t have any ideas about what an artist might decide to portray, in  particular. I love what the artwork does with movement—the artwork is swirling around something that isn’t there, and I think it’s beautiful.

Describe your dream “Vectorization”—where, in your wildest dreams, would you most like to see this broadside posted in the world?
Poet Tyler Mills: A place someone could come across the broadside and feel intimacy with it and welcomed into contemplation during a hectic day. 
Artist Stacy Isenbarger
: I want this out in abundance, but in those quiet, seemingly secret nooks that we welcome in our solitude.

Did anything shift for you or come into new light as you began working on your visual response?
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: I was struck by the idea of an object appearing and disappearing simultaneously.  Projecting that in an artwork felt like an impossibility, but I explored creating something adjacent by photographing a 3D, tangled form on a 2D plane and then editing out areas of the original documented work.

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 Tyler Mills: I’ve written a few poems about paintings in the National Gallery, and I’ve also written a book-length sequence of poems , City Scattered: Cabaret for Four Voices, inspired by an exhibit at the Neue Galerie in NYC, and both invited me to think about metaphor, story, and epiphany in new ways. I explored color, texture, but also the “what’s at stake” question, which emerged for me slowly over time. The process unfolded organically, and I was inspired often by an urgent sense that I must write about a work of art or an exhibition rather than knowing fully why.

If this Broadsided collaboration were a specific historic moment, what would it be?
Poet Tyler Mills: This moment—today. What it means now to have a uterus in America in the summer of 2022.
Artist Stacy Isenbarger:
The complex dealings of this day as an American woman: June 24th, 2022.

Do you have a favorite, generative prompt you’d like to share?
Poet Tyler Mills: I have a whole Substack dedicated to this! I’ll share a favorite prompt from it that’s available to anyone even if you’re not subscribed:
Artist Stacy Isenbarger:
As an educator, there’s a long answer to this. Perhaps this link will suffice!? Verb List Challenge.

Read any good books lately?
Poet Tyler Mills: I recently finished Cheswayo Mphanza’s The Rinehart Frames and Devon Walker-Figueroa’s Philomath. Both such beautiful books. 
Artist Stacy Isenbarger:
I’ve been (re)working my way through Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet series.  I’m currently in that space between Spring and Summer, but so much has been resonating.  “I’ll be the reason your own sap’s reviving. I’ll mainline the light to your veins…” whew.

Seen any good art lately?
Poet Tyler Mills: I loved Brad Kahlhamer’s recent exhibition at Garth Greenan!
Artist Stacy Isenbarger: I recently walked through the Giro Grafico: Como en el muro la hiedra exhibition at Reina Sofia in Madrid. Taking its name from Chilean singer-songwriter Violeta Parra’s lines, “It winds and winds like the ivy on the wall, and grows and grows like the moss on the stone,” the will held within the collection of collaborative graphics, nuanced political statements and mixed-media protest pieces was awe inspiring and empowering.

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 Tyler Mills: I’d like to express a heartfelt thank you to Stacy Isenbarger for her gorgeous artwork, which has shown me new ways of seeing this poem and thinking about the creative process. Thank you so much.

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