What made you think of Broadsided for this poem?
Poet Ash Goedker: For visual art and poetry to be in conversation and offered for access in public spaces, there has to be value in imagination and play, in which Broadsided does so well. For me, “Summer Nocturne” came from a place that is deeply playful and imaginative, and I’m honored that Broadsided chose my poem to be rendered through visual art.
What inspires you in this poem? What drew you to it?
Artist Kara Page: The line “As if those flies even care what I see” had me hooked immediately.
Does anything surprising rise to the surface when you consider the two different visions of this broadside?
Artist Kara Page: I think I read the poem with a hopeful undertone, and I think it shows in the artwork. When I see the broadside with Elizabeth Terhune’s artwork, it seems to carry a heavier, more forlorn kind of feel to it. It’s fascinating to see what different people pick up on.
Poet Ash Goedker: There are two visuals: one image is a close up of a symbol or figure and the other casts a wider view of this with more of the symbol/figure in its surrounding environment. Kara Page’s piece captures the way in which the poem’s frame begins with a wider lens and then zooms in on the kid with the termites. I feel that this figure/symbol in focus in Page’s piece is a close up of the termite winking, and it is winking at me. It still maintains this menacing feel as though the termite is taunting me and the girl, but much more beautiful than I imagined of a termite, and I love that, because without the termites and the flies, the image of the conducting is lost, so I love that Page has paid attention to and framed that.
Describe your dream “Vectorization”—where, in your wildest dreams, would you most like to see this broadside posted in the world?
Poet Ash Goedker: I would love to see this collaboration near the map in the post at the start of a hiking trail along the bayou, to be honest. A sort of nod to the buzzing clouds of bugs that one will inevitably encounter in the summer along the swamp. The reaction is to swing arms around our heads like the girl in this poem, and so this would show the folks entering that they are about to embody the girl and the bugs in the image.
What did you think an artist would pick up on from your poem? Did the visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Ash Goedeker: I was hoping the artist would capture, in some way, some kind of termite or fly, just peeking through the image in some way, and she did, but it seems to be more in focus for the visual art than it is in the poem. I thought that was pretty cool, because it made me appreciate their existence in the poem as they become more important to the interaction between the speaker, the world, and the girl.
Did anything shift for you or come into new light as you began working on your visual response?
Artist Kara Page: Just the hopeful undertones, and maybe that’s just because I am a hopeless optimist, but to me the image of the girl at the end gives me an image of hope, or of lightness even in the dark. I wanted to create something that felt kind of obscure but hopeful in response.
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 Ash Goedker: In grad school I wrote an ekphrastic poem for the first time after having a class at an art museum. I struggled at first, because I thought it had to be so exact, but then I realized that it just needs to be a conversation, and I sort of fell in love with this as a prompt and continue to attempt writing more ekphrastic poetry. It’s a good excuse to see art anyway. I have also been teaching an ekphrastic poetry workshop, in which my students have painted in response to poems and written in response to visual art; I’m inspired by art, poems, and my students every day (it helps to have class outside lately, too).
If this Broadsided collaboration were a specific historic moment, what would it be?
Artist Kara Page: Oh geez, I don’t think I could pinpoint a specific historic moment here based on my limited historical knowledge. I do think that, as people, we tend to think in big historical moments, but it’s the small moments, the ordinary moments, that are the most meaningful. Especially once we lose those seemingly mundane moments due to loss or tragedy. I think this moment might seem small, but it’s that undercurrent of a playful child in darkness that strikes me as a moment worth remembering.
Poet Ash Goedker: The invention of the lightbulb. My gosh. If it weren’t for our porch lights and street lights we wouldn’t have so many termites swarming us in the summer, but if it weren’t for the termites, there’d be no poem.
Do you have a favorite, generative prompt to inspire bold, amazing work?
Artist Kara Page: I like music. I will listen to a song that reflects the emotion I’m trying to convey while painting to sort of “stay in the moment.”
Poet Ash Goedker: Open an old notebook (my personal favorite is a dream journal) and begin with a line/image/something heard and from there … see where it takes you. It’s not guaranteed to be a guaranteed bold, amazing work, but it’s a start!
Read any good books lately?
Artist Kara Page: I’m currently reading Artemis by Andy Weir.
Poet Ash Goedker: I know I’m a year out from the publication of this book, but Natasha Rao’s Latitude breathed life into me. The poems are sharp in imagery; the word-choice and enjambment snag my attention; the depiction of the earth and body in these poems delight me.
Seen any good art lately?
Artist Kara Page: If nature counts, I’ve seen quite a lot at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center as of late! Mother nature is probably my favorite artist currently.
Poet Ash Goedker: Well, this is actually a movie that my husband and I saw for the French Film Festival in NOLA called Gagarine. It’s about a young man who has had dreams of being an astronaut and, along with his friends, attempts to save the housing projects where he lives after finding out that the building is going to be demolished, displacing him and everyone he has known and loved. It’s thoughtful and heartbreaking, and I’m still thinking about it.
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 Ash Goedker: Just a big thank you to Broadsided for believing in this poem and giving it a home for collaboration with two artists as well as the opportunity to share this with the community. And thank you to Kara Page for her careful attention to her work in relation to this poem.