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“The Doll (A Pretend Person)” / “Mammaraq (Innuŋŋuuraq)”

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Download “The Doll (A Pretend Person)” / “Mammaraq (Innuŋŋuuraq)”

Note: This broadside is part of our annual translation special feature in which we feature two broadsides—one by a poet writing in a language indigenous to the Americas.

Collaborators’ Q&A

What surprised you about this collaborative piece?
Poet Joan Naviyuk Kane: The visual image could be the photographic negative of topography from the air, a cell, or the detail from a larger work.
Artist Lisa Sette: The poem carried me to unusual strands of memories.

Do you see an overlap between the act of translation and the act of responding visually to a piece of literature?
Poet Joan Naviyuk Kane: Yes—a poem opens up language into a lyric moment. A visual response to literature can be the lyric moment made visible.

How does translation fit into your creative life?
Poet Joan Naviyuk Kane: As I adapt my creative identity, I move between the language of the everyday and the language that continues beyond me and before me.

Why this poem?
Artist Lisa Sette: It is a very emotionally active poem that pulls me to the earth.

Read any good books lately?
Poet Joan Naviyuk Kane: Miljenko Jergović’s beautiful novel, Mama Leone.
Artist Lisa Sette: Just started The Motion Of Light In Water: Sex And Science Fiction Writing In The East Village by Samuel R. Delany—loving it.

Seen any great art lately?
Poet Joan Naviyuk Kane: Susie Silook came to Anchorage from Adak and brought her most recent work, a sculpture of a woman with a triptych of faces. And I’m working in the archives and collections of the Anchorage Museum through the Polar Lab initiative—looking at pieces that came from the Sunarit Associates workshop in Nome, carvings and prints and masks by Peter Seeganna, Joe and Ron Senungetuk, and my grandfather John Kokuluk.
Artist Lisa Sette: Adrain Chesser’s The Return, an amazing collection of photographs by Chesser and writing by Timothy Eagle that captures the nomadic existence of a small group of people that Chesser and Eagle traveled with.

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