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“Quicksilver”

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 Alison Pelegrin: I had water and floods on my mind, and I thought those elements might be reflected in the artwork. I also thought I might see the color blue.

What inspires you in this poem? What drew you to it?
Artist Regin Igloria: I was immediately drawn to the title for various reasons but after reading it, certain words like water, sandbags, car trips, roadkill, and long walks all resonated with my own work. It was a natural fit to me.

Did the visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Alison Pelegrin: In my mind, the Regin’s drawing makes the poem hinge on the wrinkling visions of the quicksilver and then vanish. I love how the image seems to crumple and flower simultaneously.

When you began this piece, was it color, shape, or some other aspect that you followed? Did that change?
Artist Regin Igloria: I followed all the formal elements described in the question (using a previous drawing to start), with the exception of color as I was using collaged and cut-up black and white photocopies. I went back to it with graphite, though I don’t think that changed my initial direction.

What surprised or struck you once you saw the finished broadside?
Poet Alison Pelegrin: I was surprised by the contrast between the linear nature of the poem and the circular/labyrinthine nature of the image. Until I saw the image, I hadn’t envisioned the poem in that way.
Artist Regin Igloria:
I don’t usually work based on someone’s writing and I try not to resort to illustration, so it’s difficult for me to be given words as a starting point. So I was surprised how well it worked out despite the random nature of the selection process that usually doesn’t bode well for me. 

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 Alison Pelegrin: I am frequently inspired by art and always surprised by how these poems turn out. The title poem of my new chapbook from Diode, Our Lady of the Flood, is an ekphrastic response to a photograph I saw on Instagram during some terrible flooding in Louisiana in 2016. But I have been unable to find the photograph since then. 

How does literature fit into your creative life as a visual artist?
Artist Regin Igloria: I’ve been an arts administrator for over a dozen years at a residency program immersed with writers, so I feel a kinship with their work and presence. When I read novels and poetry, I read what they have recently published or brought during their short time with me. I look to words and language as design elements, so I’m constantly using letter forms, calligraphy, handwriting, and signage in my work.

Describe the collaboration in one word.
Poet Alison Pelegrin: Wow!
Artist Regin Igloria: Joy.

If this broadside were a piece of music, what would it be?
Poet Alison Pelegrin: “Hurricane” by Band of Heathens.
Artist Regin Igloria:
I’m not really sure about a formally written piece—I’d say it is more like birds chirping in my neighborhood.

Read any good books lately?
Poet Alison Pelegrin: Saudade by Traci Brimhall, Magdalene by Marie Howe, Olio by Tyehimba Jess. I’m also reading a book about yoga and The Power by Naomi Alderman.
Artist Regin Igloria: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, The Wrong Way To Save Your Life by Megan Stielstra, and Boundless by Jillian Tamaki.

Seen any good art lately?
Poet Alison Pelegrin: It is carnival season in New Orleans as I write this. The creativity and beauty of the floats, costumes, and marching groups is an endless source of delight.
Artist Regin Igloria: I hear and see a lot of artists’ work in process at my job—got to witness these folks sharing their work through readings, open studio visits, and dinner-time conversations. The last group was stellar, including artists such as Sam Lewis and Nils Viga.

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 Alison Pelegrin: I am honored to be part of a Broadsided collaboration for the second time. I think it would be interesting to push the collaboration through one more draft, after we read each other’s responses. 
Artist Regin Igloria:
Whenever there is an opportunity to think in new ways, I become more appreciative of being an artist. We seem to be given free license to challenge ourselves in ways that others might not. This is humbling and being asked to be part of Broadsided was a perfect example. Thank you for letting me be part of it.

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