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“The Glass Images”

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Collaborators’ Q&A

What did you think an artist would pick up on from your poem?
Poet Ladan Osman: I wasn’t sure. I hoped for something that was as messy and achy as I felt when arranging these odd news bits and memories.

What inspires you in this poem?
Artist Meghan Keane: I was inspired by the mood of the poem. It struck me as dark, brooding, and honest. I often gravitate towards poems that create images that unnerve or disarm for the truth(s) they conjure.

Did the visual artist refract any element of the poem that made you see the poem differently?
Poet Ladan Osman: The medium, its layers, its darkness helped me remember what I was feeling when I wrote it. Meghan’s work transfixed me, forced me to look at the poem, its images. TVs can do that in such an unpleasant way, especially with insomnious.

When you began this piece, was it color, shape, or some other aspect that you followed? Did that change?
Artist Meghan Keane: This piece began with the color: I knew I wanted it to be black and white. Secondarily, I was thinking about the title and the idea of the TV: these musings informed the shape of the print and also the ghostly, ethereal quality. The monoprinting process I used to make this piece is very direct, so there was not a lot of change from initial hunch (of what would be my visual interpretation) to final product. I wanted to capture the mood, the thing that inspired me the most, so set forth to do it using the formal tools at my disposal (color, form, value changes, shifting shapes..). I do hope the aim to capture the mood comes across to viewers.

What surprised you about this collaborative piece?
Poet Ladan Osman: It might be easy to get distracted by Barbie or just the loudness of color/noise on televisions so I’m happy Meghan made a work that addressed what the poem is communicating, even its title. I love the dark border, strong line at “ashes” in the last section.
Artist Meghan Keane: I was delighted to discover that, together, the poem and art created a new sort of poetry. Similar to poetry (well, my understanding of it), it is the unspoken, the gaps between the lines, as well as the juxtapositions of unexpected words next to each other, that create the images. Seeing the poem and the art together made me realize it is in the space between each where the real expressive magic is happening. Exciting, and surprising, to notice.

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 Ladan Osman: Visual media has inspired many poems. I go back to Eldzier Cortor’s “The Room No. VI” all the time. Often visual work uses space and texture in a way that clarifies a narrative or rhythm. My brain is visually verbal. I might say, “Ugh, today is so cheap velvet.” It’s hard to explain myself. Often I need an image.

If you had to represent the Broadsided of “The Glass Images” with one word, what would it be?
Poet Ladan Osman: Dim
Artist Meghan Keane: Enigmatic

If “The Glass Images” were a piece of music, what would it be?
Poet Ladan Osman: “Spoonful” by Howlin Wolf. No one’s getting their spoonful here. I like these questions!
Artist Meghan Keane: Górecki: Symphony 3, Op. 36.

Read any good books lately?
Poet Ladan Osman: Yes! Gina Franco’s The Keepsake Storm, Fady Joudah’s Alight, Selah Saterstrom’s The Pink Institution, and Goulish’s 39 Microlectures.
Artist Meghan Keane: Hemingway: To Have and Have Not, Woolf: To The Lighthouse, Garcia Marquez’ + Pushkin’s short stories.

Seen any good art lately?
Poet Ladan Osman: Krista Franklin’s “The Two Thousand & Thirteen Narrative(s) of Naima Brown” installation at Columbia showed up in my dreams. Kader Attia’s “Mirrored Tombstones,” activist art at Project NIA and justseeds, Somali street art, the movie The White Meadows was amazing. I’ve just sobbed looking at stills from Pina Bausch’s choreography, especially dancer Tsai Chin Yu tethered in “Como el musguito, en la piedra, ay si si si…” In the Wenders film, a woman walks past an open doorway with a tree on her back.
Artist Meghan Keane: I have enjoyed this art blog a lot recently:

Anything else?
Poet Ladan Osman: Thank you Meghan Keane for your lovely work! Thanks Liz and the Broadsided staff for this chance to collaborate.
Artist Meghan Keane: Thank you both—poet and publisher—for making this collaboration possible!

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