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Contributions by Janice Redman:

“The Mud Says to the Potter”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Rajiv Mohabir: This poem came about when I was thinking about what Rama, in the Kabir sense—not the conservative Hindutva iterations of Rama—meant for me as a queer poet, diasporic, and mixed-caste person. The idea of a static realization: either you realize the Divine or not, does not seem to fit with the fluidity of life systems. I wanted to point that out. Artist Janice Redman: I knew when I read this poem that I wouldn’t be making a new visual response; I knew something right existed in my studio already, but I didn’t know what. After weeks, reading the poem over and over, trying this or that, my responses started to feel like shedding a skin. I saw that I needed to strip my response down.

Janice Redman is a sculptor and mother who lives in Truro.  Born in England, she has been the recipient of many awards including the a Massachusetts Cultural Council award in sculpture and residencies at the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown, Yaddo, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. Rajiv Mohabir is the author of three collections of poetry including Cutlish, which was longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Prize and  a finalist for the National Book Critics Books Award. He also authored the memoir Antiman, which was a finalist for the 2021 PEN/America Open Book Award and 2021 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir/Biography.

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“Among Elders”

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Collaborators’ Q&A

Poet Cecelia Hagen: I was surprised that the artist took an abstract approach to the poem, which has several visual elements–trees, a possible fox, or maybe robbers. But I can also see how the art illustrates the poem, the speaker’s sense of awkwardness, the unraveling self, the oafish loafishness of the rock/potato/bar of soap becoming unencumbered in spite of its immobility. Artist Janice Redman: When I read “Among Elders” the first time, I felt soaked in something I recognized, particularly as I got closer and closer to the last verse.  It’s the feeling I have when I walk to a pond in the woods and then into the water—leaving the car, leaving the phone, not knowing if I will be alone—and always the trepidation I feel as I enter and immerse into the unknown of the water.

Artist Janice Redman is a sculptor and mother who lives in Truro.  Her work is in the permanent collections of The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. She is represented by Clark Gallery, Lincoln, MA. Poet Cecelia Hagen‘s poems have appeared in New Ohio Review, Guesthouse, On the Seawall, and EcoTheo Review. She is the author of Entering and two chapbooks, Among Others and Fringe Living. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she teaches writing and volunteers as a community recycling coordinator.

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“The Complicated Thing”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Brian Clifton: We’re all a little complicated. Maybe remembering that whenever we try to help someone heal (physically or otherwise) is a good thing. Artist Janice Redman: I feel like so much of our emotional worlds exist under the surface. Sometimes close to the surface, sometimes deeper, entrenched, not sure if they will reach the light, not sure what shape or form they take, not knowing if they are safe to explore.

Poet Brian Clifton is the author of the chapbooks MOT and Agape (from Osmanthus Press). They have work in: PleiadesGuernicaBeloit Poetry Journal, and other magazines. Artist Janice Redman is a sculptor and mother who lives in Truro. Her work is in the permanent collections of The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

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“Dark Matter”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Janice Redman: [This poem] just spoke so clearly to me. This is how it is to be a mother, to be a human being, to live this life in this body that feels like it is always just hanging on, being asked to do so much. Poet Nancy Reddy: Just a bit about the context of the poem: becoming a mother was (is!) really hard for me, and many of the poems I’ve written for the book I’m finishing now explore the darkness and difficulty of early motherhood – but in this poem I really wanted to capture some of the joy that’s also the experience of mothering (even with all the hair loss and cracked nipples and general insanity of small children).

Poet Nancy Reddy is the author of Double Jinx, a winner of the National Poetry Series, and the chapbook Acadiana. She teaches writing at Stockton University. Artist Janice Redman is a sculptor who lives on Cape Cod. Her work is in the permanent collections of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

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“The Silent One” / “Der Schweigsame”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Janice Redman: When I read the poem, I really resonated with it, the feelings of failing being part of the process, of making and creating… struggling along in my studio, my mind telling me that I don’t know what I am doing but still having to trust the process of making just by showing up over and over again. Translator Caroline Wilcox Reul: I hadn’t envisioned how one would write silence but thought Janice captured it perfectly—the way the text was burned through, or perhaps the ink had dissolved itself and the paper that held it.

Artist Janice Redman is a sculptor who lives on Cape Cod. Her work is in the permanent collections of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. Translator Caroline Wilcox Reul has a MA in computational linguistics and German language and literature from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.

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“You Are Migrant”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Janice Redman: I love the weight of the figures, which are filled with sand, and the way they flop as they are stacked. To have them on top of a teacup, which for me is about comfort and ritual and intimacy—there’s something caring about it. There’s a sense of being in a state of sighing. Poet Katherine DiBella Seluja: First of all I love the medium… The anonymity, the gray, the lack of individuation or identity so fully represent the refugee experience and this is a significant aspect of the message I want to convey in my poem.

Artist Janice Redman, is a sculptor, beekeeper, and mother who lives on Cape Cod. Poet Katherine DiBella Seluja is a poet and a nurse.

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“To You and For You”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Willie Lin: I thought the bees/hives would probably appear. I think I’d also hoped that the atmosphere of the poem—its confusion, distraction, and illogic—would be evoked somehow. Artist Janice Redman: In my own personal work, I often wrap domestic objects. I muffle them. They lose their voice. I silence them. This silencing of domestic objects is about silencing childhood feelings… I think that’s what drew me to the poem.

Poet Willie Lin lives and works in Chicago. Artist Janice Redman is a sculptor whose work is in the permanent collections of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

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