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“Summer Nocturne” (Terhune & Goedker)

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Collaborators’ Q&A

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 Elizabeth Terhune: I found it full of images and confounding.  And there’s a teeter-totter between playfulness and anxiousness.

Does anything surprising rise to the surface when you consider the two different visions of this broadside?
Artist Elizabeth Terhune: I love how Kara has pulled together the sense of space and movement and the scattering of light and that beautiful, magical central form.
Poet Ash Goedker:
The poem isn’t just capturing thunder, a trashcan being moved in heaven, or flies, or any ethereal heaven as I envisioned growing up, and Elizabeth Terhune’s piece hones in on the importance of the kid in this poem, who is in her own earthly heaven. I guess it surprised me that none of the other objects came through visually, but I’m grateful for this specific silhouette of her because the energy and image of a kid/human embracing their sense of invention and agency is what truly lasts in the poem and as heaven on earth for me.

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 one hanging at the pizza joint that my siblings and I used to celebrate our birthdays at as kids. Such a strange place, maybe, to have a broadside, but I can remember, while we waited for the pizza, wandering (or running) around and, not just playing games and getting gumballs, but (for me) also reading random things posted on the walls. People read and observe things while they wait—why not art as an appetizer?

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 love that Elizabeth Terhune used watercolors as a medium! With its ability to bleed from object to atmosphere, it really reveals the movement in the poem. I hadn’t realized that the poem has as much variation in movement as it does. There’s movement in the images and reverberation in the sounds, and the watercolors (and colors themselves) reflect that. They also reflect the lasting image of this (possibly reincarnated) kid in the light of the evening conducting termites; the watercolors reinforce this movement as if she is stuck there, conducting forever.

Did anything shift for you or come into new light as you began working on your visual response?
Artist Elizabeth Terhune: There is often an immediate image for me and that happened here.

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 Elizabeth Terhune: Early twentieth century, photo dark room.  Woman developing an image and seeing she photographed something she wasn’t aware of.
Poet Ash Goedker:
Maybe Hands Across America, in 1986? I don’t know if that seems cheesy, but it’s difficult to imagine that being possible now, having spent so much time alone on our porches and during the pandemic and such. But, similarly to this ekphrastic work, it was a collaboration of so many people who didn’t know one another, and it seems as though it would have been healing, if just for those moments of holding hands. I think visual art and poetry have the potential to accomplish that.

Do you have a favorite, generative prompt to inspire bold, amazing work?
Artist Elizabeth Terhune: No.  Though, I do keep an ongoing list of ideas for painting.  And I keep a sketchbook.
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 bold, amazing work, but it’s a start!

Read any good books lately?
Artist Elizabeth Terhune: One of my favorite questions. Funeral Diva by Pamela Sneed (with the warning that I was up half the night reading this book because I couldn’t stop).  The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard.  Magic: A History by Chris Gosden. An Imaginary Life by David Malouf.  Caroline Alexander’s translation of The Iliad.  And, a shout out to my partner in life, Mark Sullivan, for his four astonishing poems in the most recent edition of The Manhattan Review, Vol. 20, No. 1 Fall/Winter 2021-2022.
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, and the depiction of the earth and body in these poems delight me. 

Seen any good art lately?
Artist Elizabeth Terhune: Faith Ringold at the New Museum. Ruth Asawa and James Castle, both at David Zwirner. Hope to see the Charles Ray soon. The Frick collection is now in the old Whitney building during renovations. It is great to be able to see these paintings up close without leaning over furniture.
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).
Artist Elizabeth Terhune: A huge thank you to Liz and the other Broadsided editors and artists. 
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. Thanks to Elizabeth Terhune for her gorgeous work. I’m absolutely in love with what she’s done

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