What made you think of Broadsided for this poem?
Poet Liza Katz Duncan: I loved the idea that this poem would be part of a public conversation, posted in spaces where poetry might not be expected. Also, I had never before seen a visual response to my own work and was curious as to how an artist might interpret it.
What inspires you in this poem? What drew you to it?
Artist Regin Igloria: I was drawn to ideas of the body and place, both physical and psychological. I’ve been feeling much older and weary, and so I’ve considered mortality and the decay of vessels and movement with our body. Liza’s poem suggested the complexity of the beginnings of such things, so it resonated immediately with my own constant questioning.
Describe your dream “Vectorization”—where, in your wildest dreams, would you most like to see this broadside posted in the world?
Artist Regin Igloria: I would love to see it in a large-format digital billboard that flickers in and out, kind of like a slightly malfunctioning electronic sign on the highway or in a subway station. Another ideal location would be at a walkway or path near a body of water, such as a signboard on a pier by the lake.
Poet Liza Katz Duncan: I would love to see this in public spaces—bulletin boards, libraries, transportation. Considering the subject matter, too often pushed into the realm of taboo, to me this feels like a radical act. At the same time, I’d like to bring this project into spaces like hospitals, clinics, and therapists’ offices, where it might reach those who most need to see it.
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 Liza Katz Duncan: Initially I had expected to see a more literal interpretation of the poem—the womb, the water—but I’m glad this wasn’t the direction Regin decided to go. Regin’s drawing captures the chaos of pregnancy and pregnancy loss, the tangled knot of grays and whites in the ultrasound photo, the blur and mess and complications, with such sensitivity. Parts and pieces of the drawing look like heads and limbs but aren’t, exactly. It hurts to look at.
Did anything shift for you or come into new light as you began working on your visual response?
Artist Regin Igloria: My drawings constantly shift in the process. I began this drawing as a sketch of protest signs brought forth and revealed during the recent SCOTUS headlines [regarding Roe v. Wade]. A combination of crowds of people and the objects they carried were quickly smothered in a plume of moving dust; also, a shift from external to internal thoughts.
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 Liza Katz Duncan: I attended the Chelsea Art Walk, an annual event in Chelsea, Massachusetts, where artists open their studios to the public, making the steps in their process plainly visible. I wrote this poem, Sculptor’s Warehouse, in response. I don’t know a lot about visual art and had never before thought about what happens to the discarded material, the scraps left on the cutting room floor, what doesn’t make it into the final piece of art that goes on exhibition. The sculptors’ molds, for example, are necessary to making art, but ultimately thankless. I wanted to explore that, and what it means for how we treat one another.
If this Broadsided collaboration were a specific historic moment, what would it be?
Artist Regin Igloria: I think this would be an appropriate collaboration for this current Roe v. Wade moment. It was just good timing even though the news had not yet broken when I first read the poem.
Poet Liza Katz Duncan: The moment we’re in right now. The national conversation about women’s health right now, the conversation about reproductive health, is terrifying. This needs to be more informed, certainly, but also more compassionate, and needs to center the lived experiences of actual pregnant people. To me this collaboration feels honest, vulnerable, and like a tiny step in the right direction.
Do you have a favorite, generative prompt to inspire bold, amazing work?
Artist Regin Igloria: My favorite prompt is a list-building exercise that begins with a list of people you know, moves to places you’ve been and want to be, and culminates in the comparison and contrasting of moments of joy and sorrow. Any prompt that gradually builds tension has been my go-to prompt.
Poet Liza Katz Duncan: I attended a workshop led by Amber Flora Thomas at the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference in 2021. I’m still working through her prompts about monuments, creaturely presence, and resurgence in the environment and within the human body. In a time of so much environmental and social upheaval, there is so much to draw from.
Read any good books lately?
Artist Regin Igloria: I keep going back and forth within chapters of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass and have also been reading Louise Erdrich novels.
Poet Liza Katz Duncan: Most recently: I Always Carry My Bones by Felicia Zamora, The Renunciations by Donika Kelly, Now Do You Know Where You Are by Dana Levin, Northern Light by Kazim Ali, Body Toxic by Suzanne Antonetta.
Seen any good art lately?
Artist Regin Igloria: I was fortunate enough to have a final critique with students who did an amazing job given how tough the semester was and how difficult the world is. Their work was moving and probably did more for me than anything else this year.
Poet Liza Katz Duncan: Orion magazine dedicated a recent issue to the intersection of environment, illness, and healing. The photos and illustrations were just incredible.
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 Regin Igloria: I look forward to reading more of Liza’s work and want to acknowledge her and Broadsided for such a lovely opportunity. I think collaboration is the way forward.
Poet Liza Katz Duncan: Just a huge thank you to Regin for the time and thought he spent with my work, and to Broadsided for making it all possible. What an honor.