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“Semblance” (Page & Becker)

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Collaborators’ Q&A

What did you think an artist would pick up on from your poem?
Poet Robin Becker: I wondered how a visual artist would convey both fierceness and vulnerability. Kara managed to combine both qualities.

When you began this piece, was it color, shape, or some other aspect that you followed? Did that change?
Artist Kara Page: I wanted to use warm colors when I read this poem. I think of warm colors as welcoming, but there is another side to them that reflects more intense emotion, like anger or passion. I think Robin’s poem does a great job unpacking the duality of a father/child relationship. 

Did either visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Robin Becker: By choosing red as the dominant color, Kara emphasized the “blood” connection between dogs and people.

What surprised you about this piece, once you saw the artwork and poem together?
Artist Kara Page: The fact that all the words were separate from the painting. How the two pieces will fit together is always the biggest surprise. Seeing them next to each another, it struck me that they both get to speak their own strengths rather than get in each other’s way.

Does anything surprising rise to the surface when you consider the two pieces of art and your poem together?
Poet Robin Becker: While both employ “soft” lines and rounded, curving shapes, Bailey adds the formal element of the window-pane squares, something I hadn’t anticipated. 

What caught your eye in the visual response by your fellow Broadsided artist?
Artist Kara Page: The use of warm colors. We obviously did not speak to one another about what we were doing, and I think it is interesting we were both drawn to using warmth.

In looking at the poem and the two visual responses together, what connections or associations rise to the surface?
Poet Robin Becker:
I’m struck by the rich response we all have to bodies: human, canine, otherwise.

Have you ever written work that has been inspired by visual art?
Poet Robin Becker: Yes, I’ve written poems in responses to paintings, photographs, drawings, and prints.

Describe the collaboration in one word.
Artist Kara Page: Sobering.
Poet Robin Becker: Emotional.

If the Broadsided collaboration were a piece of music, what would it be?
Artist Kara Page: “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine,” by Gene Autry.
Poet Robin Becker: Bach’s “Partita for Solo Violin in D Minor.”

Read any good books lately?
Poet Robin Becker: I just read all of Kent Haruf’s novels. I read Andre Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name after I saw the film. And now I’m reading Jane Mayer’s Dark Money and Stephen Mitchell’s Can Love Last?
Artist Kara Page: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. 

Seen any good art lately?
Artist Kara Page: The @quillqueen on Instagram is pretty amazing.
Poet Robin Becker: Mark Rothko at the MFA in Boston.

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 Robin Becker: Thank you, Liz, and other Broadsiders, for this inventive approach to sharing the literary and visual arts.

Note:  This broadside and interview are included in the anthology, Broadsided Press: Fifteen Years of Poetic/Artistic Collaboration, 2005-2020 (Provincetown Arts Press, 2022).

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