Yo, Collaborate and Listen

Last night at Kris Sanford’s MFA show reception, I was especially pleased to finally set eyes on both the completed version of our artist’s book Stolen (with poems by Matthew Heil and me) as well as the final version of our broadside, The Aerialists:

This is one example of how wonderful collaboration can be. When I originally gave this poem to Kris, it looked very different, having staggered stanzas in two columns running down the page, signifying the two voices in the poem: the narrator, who discusses elements of flying and plane crashes, and a second voice who complicates that original narrative by describing the shape and speed of the human body.

A few weeks later, Kris called me to show me the first draft of the print. Voilá! There it was: the poem I was hoping I’d written. It was beautiful what she’d done to it, taking out some problematic lines, shifting the flight communication lines and distributing them across the page, but most of all, she clarified the relationship between those two voices visually.

It’s a beautiful, haunting print—both sad and sexual, which I guess is like all of my other work.

Oh, and you can buy it if you contact Kris.

More photos from the show will come later when I get some pics from Kris. Congratulations on your defense and thanks for continuing our collaborative work—it pushes the edges of what I believe myself capable.

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