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.