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Contributions by Douglas Culhane:

“Think Well of Us”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Luiza Flynn-Goodlett: It’s a poem that grapples with the current ecological moment, so I thought it would be exciting to literalize that—to see it out in the sunshine, amid the splendor and squalor of our dying world. Artist Douglas Culhane: When working with text I usually try and avoid being literal (illustrative).  Here I could not help but go with the rats. I liked considering their appearance–cute ears, horsey heads, creepy bare tails and delicate paws. I’m not nearly done with the rats…

Poet Luiza Flynn-Goodlett is the author of four chapbooks, most recently Twice Shy, forthcoming from Nomadic Press. Artist Douglas Culhane works in sculpture and drawing. He has exhibited in New York and New England and he teaches art at Amherst College.

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“Handkerchief”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Do you see an overlap between the act of translation and the act of responding visually to a piece of literature? Artist Douglas Culhane: Both involve interpretation and recreation. Both require a fidelity to the original as well as a commitment to the truth and presentation of the reimagined work. Translator Fady Joudah: Life is not possible without translation. I mean that literally, at DNA level.

Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan is the author of ten collections of poetry, most recently Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me. Translator Fady Joudah is a poet and physician. His translation of Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me won the Griffin Poetry Prize. Artist Douglas Culhane works in sculpture and drawing. He has exhibited in New York and New England. 

 

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“It Is”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Suzanne Marie Hopcroft: I think I hoped and felt that an artist would pick up on the sense of movement and energy in the poem—that it would be communicable even in an ostensibly static image—and I was right! Artist Douglas Culhane: … The setting of the poem seems urban, but it is full of details from the natural world. I liked the non-contradictory way these elements meshed.

Poet Suzanne Marie Hopcroft is an MFA candidate in poetry at The University of California, Irvine and has degrees in literature from Columbia University and Yale University. Artist Douglas Culhane works in sculpture and drawing. He has exhibited in New York and New England.

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“April and Silence”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Translator Michael McGriff: There’s something new and exciting when text leaves the page and enters the realm of the visual—it reminds us that words take up house and carry meaning no matter how they appear before us. Artist Douglas Culhane: …For me translation requires a certain kind of accuracy balanced with an intuitive, aesthetic sense of the new work. In adding visuals to a poem I always have to wrestle with how to find the essence without being literal.

Translator Michael McGriff was born and raised in Coos Bay, Oregon. He is the author of Choke, Dismantling the Hills, and Home Burial. Artist Douglas Culhane works in sculpture and drawing. He has exhibited in New York and New England. Poet Tomas Tranströmer was born in Stockholm, Sweden. The author of numerous books of poetry, he was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature.

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“Extirpation”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Keith Ekiss: …Something’s missing in this landscape, which for many years has been the home of the Pima, that would still be there, if it weren’t for the damming and diverting of the Gila River in Arizona. Artist Douglas Culhane: …I decided to focus on expressing what was lost (specific bird, specific natural landscape). I had decided to leave out the hard geometric lines which the poem describes—but there they are visually in the poem—the underlying grid of printed text.

Poet Keith Ekiss is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University and the past recipient of scholarships and residencies from the Bread Loaf and Squaw Valley Writers’ Conferences, Santa Fe Art Institute, Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Petrified Forest National Park. Artist Douglas Culhane works in sculpture and drawing. He has exhibited in New York and New England.

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“Yard Work”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Douglas Culhane: The bits of action, characters and description all held together by a site. The poem has a “pure products of America go crazy” feel to it which I love. Poet Ryan J Browne: …After saying all that about the people who occupy prison (as well as the majority of my attention) and my expectation of what an artist would gravitate toward in the poem, Doug’s piece strikes me as a startling turn of awareness to the place of prison. After seeing the proof, I thought, Yes! This is what the poem is about! 

Poet Ryan J. Browne teaches poetry in Alabama state prisons with the nationally recognized Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project. Artist Douglas Culhane works in sculpture and drawing. He has exhibited in New York and New England. 

 

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“Neighborhood Watch”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Douglas Culhane: There is an openness to this poem both visually and textually. It conveys that sense of thoughts taking shape just as the words appear on the page—something only poetry can do. Poet Anjali Khosla: …I suppose that is what has surprised me the most—this collaborative broadside is a piece of art in its own right. It’s not simply my poem printed over an illustration. I like that.

Poet Anjali Khosla is an MFA graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “Neighborhood Watch” is her first poem to be accepted for publication. Artist Douglas Culhane works in sculpture and drawing. He has exhibited in New York and New England.

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