Collaborators’ Q&A: Artist Sara Tabbert: I was working on this piece as I saw the poem, and as I continued to work they became entangled. I kept seeing the ribcage or chest in my tree, a kind of restricted grasping form which seemed to reflect the wordplay in the poem. Poet Philip Metres: …Sara picked up on the bleakness of the poem, which is really about the purgatorial experience of darkening days, midlife, asthma, and the distance of God. It almost looks like a tree whose branches are growing inward rather than outward, retreating from the world.
Poet Philip Metres is the author of ten books, most recently Shrapnel Maps (Copper Canyon 2020). He is professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University. Artist Sara Tabbert works with carved wood, both as prints and as relief panels. Her studio is in her hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, where she works full time as an artist.