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“The Dry Tortugas”

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 Molly Fisk: I wasn’t sure—one of the images in it, or a mood. it feels as though Yuko extracted a wateriness from the poem—nothing specifically related to content, but an underlying element.

When you begin a piece of visual work (or, if that’s too broad, when you began this piece), is it color, shape, or some other aspect that you follow?
Artist Yuko Adachi: I let my curiosity of being in the present guide me and I simply follow my energy.

Did the visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Molly Fisk: I had always thought about that poem in terms of color and loss: what my grandparents lost in deciding not to build that house, and what my grandmother lost when my grandfather died, soon after, and what I’ve lost since she died, because we were very close. I was trying to bring an era to life, too, with the lipstick and the rum and the phrase about the banker. Refracted through Yuko’s eyes, the poem takes on a smoother sense for me, a feeling maybe that lots remains when something is lost, and that’s how it should be. Water moving and changing, constantly inconstant.

What surprised you about this collaborative piece?
Poet Molly Fisk: Everything I’ve mentioned above, pretty much. And the roundness of the shapes she used, that surprised me.
Artist Yuko Adachi: I think it is romantic to see how art and literature from two different artists come together as one piece and they compliment each others’ work.

My art existed before I read the poem, so after I read this poem and seeing how my work was matched to it, I was pleasantly surprised to learn how well they go together. As a visual artist, my mind is void of words and the poem is made up with words, however, this poem evokes so much imagination and expansive subtle feelings that one can dig in and the poem took me to another dimension. It is hard to describe it but seeing a collaborative piece is a totally different feeling and experience from just seeing my own work alone.

If your art were a beverage, what would it be?
Artist Yuko Adachi: Rainwater and tears that has been filtered through the highest mountain one can find, mixed with the ancient floral fragrance, a bit of pink cloud, sunshine and a handful of rainbow.

If your poem were a beverage, what would it be?
Poet Molly Fisk: This is a goofy question. It would be a manhattan or some other 1950s cocktail.

If the Broadsided collaboration were a beverage, what would it be?
Poet Molly Fisk: Salt water. Not that one wants to drink that. Maybe fizzy water. Something less specific than a manhattan, more universal.
Artist Yuko Adachi: Delicious and lovely Cocktail. Without alcohol.

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 Molly Fisk: I’ve written quite a few poems about paintings done by my aunt, Mary Weatherall, who’s a painter in Massachusetts. I like to write to paintings—it’s a way of pushing an image farther from its source: first the painter interprets something she’s seen, then the poet puts her own spin on it, so you have two minds, two emotional reactions and intellectual reactions brought to bear on one salt marsh or bathroom sink (whatever the painting is). It’s perhaps more fun with me and Mary because we’re relatives. I’ve seen that sink before, and the salt marsh, too, outside the context of the painting. I don’t think any writing can really describe what we see visually as well as a painting—we’re the poor cousins in the image department, but I like to try.

If you had to represent the Broadsided of “The Dry Tortugas” with one word, what would it be?
Poet Molly Fisk: Vivacity
Artist Yuko Adachi: 

Read any good books lately?
Poet Molly Fisk: I’m deep into a series of Swedish mysteries by Ake Erikson at the moment. Recreational reading. They’re great, but you have to like that bleak Swedish landscape and view of the world.
Artist Yuko Adachi: I read A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle whenever I find time to read even if it is 5 minutes before I go to bed or 3 minutes at the waiting room at the Doctor’s office. I read this book couple of times already but no matter how many times I read this book, the depth of the wisdom and teaching I can discover in this book is so vast that I feel this book is a pure gift to the spiritual evolution of the humanity. I am very thankful that I have this book with me at the stage of my life right now.

Seen any good art lately?
Poet Molly Fisk: I’m very fond of Emil Nolde, the German expressionist, and just went to a show of his stuff in paris that I didn’t like at all. Some good seascapes, but a lot of it was garish and violent-feeling to me, which I hadn’t seen in his work before. (Don’t I sound swank, having been to an art show in Paris? This happens regularly every 20 years or so.)
Artist Yuko Adachi: The desire of wanting to see good art fuels me to create my own art because I am hungry for good art and it is faster and easier to work on my art than to look for it elsewhere. Hence, to answer this question, my latest art:) Lucky me!

Anything else?
Poet Molly Fisk: Yes. The original draft of this poem was written in a 7-11 parking lot on the back of a WestAmerica bank deposit envelope (because writers never have any paper on them). I was driving home from a secretarial temp job and the first lines wouldn’t leave my head, so I pulled over. It didn’t go through too many further drafts—maybe three. I’ve always considered it a gift from above, maybe with my grandparents waving to me from their fishing boat in heaven.
Artist Yuko Adachi: Thanks to the Broadsided Press for this opportunity. May art and literature continue to prosper in our hearts!

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