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“One Lineage of Ice, Ravened”

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 Jari Thymian: I didn’t know what to expect. It felt like my poem was acting as canvas—a new experience. I’m delighted the ravens appear on center stage. They had migrated from a poem that hadn’t worked earlier to this one. The image of the ravens on Odin’s shoulders had been with me for several years. Did Kate read my mind?

What inspires you in this poem?
Artist Kate Baird: I like how it goes from short, personal episode to mythic sweep. And I worry about ice disappearing.

Did the visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Jari Thymian: First, I had the definite feeling that Kate placed the ravens on the shoulders of every person. I see the shoulders, the glaciers, the ghosts of ravens. Then I saw all the colors and layers of ice. Until then, I don’t think I consciously saw that I had layers of ice (numbered stanzas) in the poem.

When you begin a piece of visual work (or, if that’s too broad, when you began this piece), is it color, shape, or some other aspect that you follow?
Artist Kate Baird: I started with white/black and changing one into the other and with the shape of the raven.

What surprised you about this collaborative piece?
Poet Jari Thymian: I gasped with delight when I saw it. So did my husband. The starkness. The shadow. The mystery. Oooh, the birds sitting over a crevasse with their backs to each other as if looking in every direction. Wonderful tension. Kate’s work deepens the feelings I have about the poem and the history of ice on the planet and my personal experiences with ice.

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 Jari Thymian: Yes, I’ve written many ekphrastic poems that also include photography, music, film, dance and cooking. (There are some who would argue whether that’s true ekphrastic.) The experience of writing about other art forms is my way of translating my feelings/reactions even though I often don’t know what that means when I start writing. I’m inspired to do so because I get an interior adventure. It often feels like I leap into the paint, stone, film, architecture, etc.

If you had to represent the Broadsided of “One Lineage of Ice, Ravened” with one word, what would it be?
Poet Jari Thymian: 32° F
Artist Kate Baird: inkyicy

Read any good books lately?
Artist Kate Baird: I’m reading Mannahatta—it’s about what the land that New York is on was like 400 years ago before it was a city. Just started, but so far it’s great!
Poet Jari Thymian: Refuse to Choose! by Barbara Sher
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Haiku Mind by Patricia Donegan
Re-read The Dead Get By with Everything by Bill Holm

Seen any good art lately?
Poet Jari Thymian: Kirkland Museum in Denver has a collection of Vance Kirkland work and some quirky 20th century art. Andy Goldsworthy and Kazuaki Tanahashi are a couple favorites. I enjoyed the documentary about Herb and Dorothy Vogel, NY minimalist art collectors. Kate Baird’s website is amazing.
Artist Kate Baird: Robert Frank’s The Americans at the Met.

Anything else?
Poet Jari Thymian: Great experience! Thank you! I think it’d be awesome to attend a Broadsided Press conference of poets and artists because the dividing line is so very, very thin between them. Improv poetry and art? Or trading places? Extreme collaboration?

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