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Contributions by Michele L'Heureux:

“He Lei Māmane no Maunakea”

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Collaborators Q&A: Poet ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui: I work primarily with both Hawaiian and English; the first has a long rich history of oral tradition that underwent a transformation into writing in the 19th century—how does one take something spoken, performed, and fluid and fix it in print on a page? The act of translation between languages and mediums is always challenging but worth undertaking–it leads to finding and expanding meanings and sharing with different audiences. Artist Michele L’Heureux: I hadn’t considered that the artwork could divide the poem and its English translation, but I really love the way it looks on the page. It gives the palila bird a prominence that feels right, like she’s presiding over or even singing the poem.

Poet ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui is a Kanaka Maoli nationalist, scholar, aloha ‘āina advocate, poet, and visual artist born in Kailua, Ko‘olaupoko, O‘ahu and raised in Kaipuha‘a (Wailua Homesteads), Puna, Kaua‘i. Michele L’Heureux is a visual artist and digital designer who is obsessed with birds.

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“Fossil Record: Smilodon”

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Collaborators Q&A:

Poet Brittney Corrigan is the author of the poetry collections BreakingNavigation, and 40 Weeks. Daughters, a series of persona poems in the voices of daughters of various characters from folklore, mythology, and popular culture, is forthcoming from Airlie Press in September, 2021. Artist Michele L’Heureux is an artist and bird fanatic who works as a digital designer for a medical software company. After five decades in the Northeast, she recently relocated to Central Florida, where the birds are rocking her boat.

Artist Michele L’Heureux: I grew up taking road trips with my parents and three siblings, and we stopped a lot at roadside attractions, nature centers, and zoos. I responded right away to the vivid image of a coin-operated model of a saber-toothed tiger in the lobby of a natural history museum—Today, I absolutely love to spend time at a natural history museum, so this poem resonates for me on many levels. Poet Brittney Corrigan:  What was unexpected to me, and what I admire in L’Heureux’s work, is that the Smilodon in the collage is so multi-layered, complete with muzzle and fur. In stark contrast to the smooth statue in the museum, the saber-toothed cat on the broadside really comes alive.

 

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“Daughter”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Jennifer Barber: Michele’s use of line, shape, and color to evoke the marks on the page referenced in the poem illuminated for me the border between writing and visual art—how writing is a form of drawing, and vice versa. Artist Michele L’Heureux: I have been a maker of marks my entire life, and I love the image of a child’s notebook filled with marks. I am also thinking so much about the passage of time and my own aging.

Artist Michele L’Heureux is an artist and bird fanatic who works as a digital designer for a medical software company.  Poet Jennifer Barber’s collections are Works on Paper, Given Away, and Rigging the Wind. She is the founding editor of the journal Salamander, based at Suffolk University in Boston.

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“Sickness”

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Collaborators’s Q&A: Poet Jennifer Perrine: I was just over two weeks into sheltering at home when I saw the “Sense of Home” prompts in my inbox. I’m not sure I can adequately describe the glee and gratitude I felt when I read them, especially the Beautiful Outlaw prompt. I had been trying to write about the chaos and disorientation of those early days when I first recognized the severity of the pandemic, and hadn’t had much luck…. Artist Michele L’Heureux: I love how nuanced and tender the poem is, how it uses a capsule of daily life for two people in love as a vehicle to convey the complexity of our current times.  It is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time.

Poet Jennifer Perrine is the author of three books of poetry: The Body Is No Machine; In the Human Zoo; and No Confession, No Mass, winner of the Publishing Triangle Audre Lorde Award and the Prairie Schooner Book Prize. Artist Michele L’Heureux is an artist and bird fanatic who works as a digital designer for a medical software company.

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“Refugee Status for the Undocumented”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Michele l’Heureux: I was really moved by how different the person in this poem’s life experience is from my own—that one could be so relieved or desperate to be in a new, presumably safer place that they would allow themselves to imagine all the atrocities that secure their rightful spot in a new country. Poet Jae Elim: I would love to see this broadside posted at immigration entry points and airports. I want people to think about what kind of privilege they have or do not have when they enter any geographical space.

Artist Michele l’Heureux has spent the last decade as an artist and curator, designing and building dozens of contemporary art exhibitions, which include her own work, at a range of university and nonprofit galleries. Poet Jae Elim is a scholar and artist whose work interrogates the challenges of the immigrant in the United States. Note: Jae Elim is a pseudonym that the poet feels is important to use given the current political climate.

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“Beginning Moon”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Markie Babbott: Michele L’Heureux’s painting invokes and invites. The dreamy use of mixed media layers upon layers, especially the lettering, asks the viewer to stop and observe, to wonder and project.  Artist Michele L’Heureux: I expected a writer to respond to the garden imagery, the florals and greenery, and perhaps the solitude of the female figure. I love that Markie played up the idea of “more,” and that the painting called up for her a quote by Gertrude Stein.

Artist Michele L’Heureux is an artist and curator from Waltham, Mass. She is director of the Beard and Weil Galleries at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. Poet Markie Babbott’s chapbook, Sus Scrofa, won the 2008 Poets Corner Press Competition. She is a psychologist who lives with her family in western Massachusetts.

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“The Owls”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Laura Kasischke: It’s a strange out-of-the-body experience to see something that was originally just in my mind imagined by someone else. Artist Michele L’Heureux: I have always referenced text in my work but in fragmented and unintelligible ways. Recently, I have begun using literature as direct source material for drawings, paintings, and animated projects.

Poet Laura Kasischke has published eight novels and eight collections of poetry, most recently Space, In Chains, for which she received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Artist Michele L’Heureux is an artist and curator from Waltham, Mass. She is director of the Beard and Weil Galleries at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass.

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“Hockey Poem”

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Collaborators’ Q&A: Poet Gibson Fay-LeBlanc: I love the flames that Michele created here, flames made of text. It is the goalie’s words that spark the poem, that set the speaker on fire. Artist Michele L’Heureux: I love the commentary on masculinity in this poem. As a former athlete and the sister of two brothers who played hockey, I understand oppressive locker-room attitudes about gender and sexuality, which can be pervasive.

Poet Gibson Fay-LeBlanc‘s first collection of poems is Death of a Ventriloquist. In 2011 he was named one of Maine’s “emerging leaders” by the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media for his work directing The Telling Room, where he still occasionally teaches writing. Artist Michele L’Heureux is a painter and curator who runs galleries at Wheaton College and at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center.

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