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Contributions by Amy Meissner:

“N’ikpeazu” / “Later”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: What surprised you about this collaborative piece? 
Poet Akpa Arinzechukwu: Spirituality is a thing!!! I wrote a poem inspired by looking at an article of clothing a brother once wore alive, and an artist who works with fabrics ran with the feelings/emotion. The “othering” done by grief is a race one can’t afford to run or face but here Amy tells the reader/viewer: “here, see my pain, did I not survive?” Artist Amy Meissner: My artistic interest lies at the intersection of textiles, craft practice, and grieving. While I strive to portray this visually in my work, I’m always moved to see it beautifully meld with the written word.

Poet Akpa Arinzechukwu is a Nigerian writer and translator dealing with their numerous identities. Artist Amy Meissner is an artist, writer and mother living in Anchorage, Alaska.

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“The Witch Ruminates in Her Woodland Grave”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Writer Marsha Pomerantz: …what Amy’s work emphasizes is the tightening, the twistedness (in various senses)—binding, ingestion, tangle—which is at least as present in the poem as the undoing that I had been focusing on. Artist Amy Meissner: I loved that I was considering midwifery and women’s forbidden power at the same time Marsha was considering another type of witch.

Marsha Pomerantz is the author of The Illustrated Edge (Biblioasis, 2011). Recent poems and essays have appeared in PN Review, Raritan, Salamander, and Best American Essays 2016. Artist Amy Meissner’s textile-based artwork has shown nationally, with award-winning work residing in the permanent collection at the Anchorage Museum. www.amymeissner.com.

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“Backyard”

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The Switcheroo is here!  Artist Jenny Bevill selected this year’s image, “The Fragile Domestic” by Amy Meissner, saying of it, “I could see it inspiring words like spin, turn, revolve but also pulse. The strings in the middle seem to be holding the nest in place in this spinning world.” Poet Melissa Fite Johnson‘s poem “Backyard” sang out from all the entries. It might be because, as she says, “what I found so inspiring about Amy’s work is that it gave me a small shiver of déjà vu. It felt like a visual representation of the themes I can’t stop writing (and reading) about lately.”

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“Close to Each Other With [a / the] Body” / “paq’qatát cilakátk”

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How does translation fit into your creative life?
Michael Wasson: I don’t know if it truly ‘fits’ as much as it has always been a part of my little ‘creative’ life. A hand. Or a shoulder. A jawbone. I never asked how my arm fits to my body. It’s just my arm. But many of our ‘creative’ lives somehow involve language being a conversation between the unsayable and the transformative. I like opening possibilities. So when nimipuutímt blossoms a smidge out from the page, I let it be. Just let it ache and breathe and be alive there in its beautiful little textual and/or sonic breach. For me, maybe that’s how it fits. Like a tiny fracture from a world somewhere inside me. Revealing brief layers to a life I’ve been given. Like the origins of my arm was all my ancestors deciding, okay this is how his arm should be.

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“The Butterfly Farm”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Nicole Callahan: The circles. The wholeness. The notion that we can become something completely different and still be so true to who we are. Artist Amy Meissner: I love how both the poem and the artwork incorporate beauty and terror with the same amount of subtlety.

Poet Nicole Callihan’s work has appeared in, among others, The L Magazine, PANK, Forklift, Ohio, Painted Bride Quarterly and as a Poem-a-Day selection from the Academy of American Poets. Artist Amy Meissner is an illustrator, writer, textile artist and mother to two young children in Anchorage, Alaska.

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“To Weeping”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Amy Meissner: The “Vein” textile series explores the juxtaposition between the natural world and the body. Veins run through rock, create fissures, weakness, but also immense beauty. Our bodies, too, are fractured in various ways, but still grasp at strength. Poet Amy Groshek: I wanted to explore the paranoia evident in that discourse, and the vulnerabilities of the body—to infection, to language, to ideas, to fear. 

Poet Amy Groshek holds an MFA from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Artist Amy Meissner is an illustrator, writer, textile artist and mother to two young children in Anchorage, Alaska.

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“Monkey”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Amy Meissner: The images—they remind me of the way I see my own childhood, in bursts and moments, precise objects and total misunderstanding. Poet Dara-Lyn Shrager: The poem seemed pretty dark to me when I wrote it. Seeing it accompanied by a piece of art that is fairly cheery made me consider the possibility that some might perceive this poem as less terrifying than I did.

Poet Dara-Lyn Shrager is the Co-Editor of Radar Poetry (radarpoetry.com). She lives in Princeton, New Jersey. Artist Amy Meissner is an illustrator, writer, textile artist and mother to two young children in Anchorage, Alaska.

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“The Second Fallacy”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Amy Meissner: I was inspired by the visual imagery but also the emotional quality—it hit a nerve for me with regards to family history and how this shapes us all. Poet C. Dale Young: It is always interesting to see how one work of art can be reflected in another work of art. In the case of the broadside, the new work of art exists side by side with the poem. 

Poet C. Dale Young practices medicine full-time, edits poetry for the New England Review, and teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Artist Amy Meissner is an illustrator, writer, textile artist, and mother to two young children in Anchorage, Alaska.

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“April och tystnad”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Amy Meissner: I love how the two images work together emotionally—down to the medium and palette, the two play off one another nicely and evoke two different inner worlds with the same underlying pain. Translator Michael McGriff: …Tranströmer is one of my favorite poets. I go to his work to be reminded that the enigmatic universe can be represented by a single image. Translation (the act of doing it, reading it, and publishing it) takes up most of my waking hours. It’s an essential part of my creative life.

Poet Tomas Tranströmer was born in Stockholm, Sweden. The author of numerous books of poetry, he was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature. Artist Amy Meissner is a writer and children’s book illustrator living in Anchorage, Alaska. Translator Michael McGriff was born and raised in Coos Bay, Oregon. He is the author of Choke, Dismantling the Hills, and Home Burial

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“Stop Doing That”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Writer Christopher Citro: The trapdoors and the ladders strictly speaking aren’t in the poem, and that’s wonderful! It makes the poem-plus-image a new object all its own. Artist Amy Meissner: My son painted the main watercolor wash when he was 3. He’s now 6. It’s been on the wall for a few years and I wanted to use it as a background for something new.

Writer Christopher Citro’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in Poetry East, Arts & Letters Prime, Fourteen Hills, Tar River Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, The Cortland Review, Harpur Palate, Faultline, Permafrost, and elsewhere. Artist Amy Meissner is a writer and children’s book illustrator living in Anchorage, Alaska.

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“Paying the Bills”

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Poet Amy Groshek was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1977. According to the Eau Claire Law, written in 1937, the price paid to a United States farmer for milk increases with the farm’s distance from Eau Claire. Amy holds an MFA from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She teaches writing and computer applications at Alaska Pacific University. Her poems have appeared in Bloom, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Ice-Floe. The Eau Claire Law, due to the lobbying efforts of New England and California corporate dairies, is still in effect.

Artist Amy Meissner is an artist and writer who makes her living illustrating children’s books. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

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“The Gift”

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Poet Lynn Stanley is a visual artist and a writer. She is the recipient of 2002 grants for poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Provincetown Cultural Council. A chapbook of her poems, “Gravity Claims Us,” was published by Folly Cove Press. She works as a freelance writer and is the Curator of Education at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

Artist Amy Meissner is an artist and writer who makes her living illustrating children’s books. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

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