The artwork and poetry in this collaborative show will feed you on many levels, which includes poetry by: Christine Stewart-Nunez and Darla Biel, two gifted poets in my CNF writing group, and many of my favorite poets, including Joyce Sutphen, currently Minnesota Poet Laureate, David Allan Evans, South Dakota Poet Laureate, Jason Freeman, Patrick Hicks, Jim Reese, and Lee Ann Roripaugh.
I was honored to work with artist Betty L. Beer and write a poem in response to her five collages titled "Jazz Quintet for My Ancestors." We had collaborated last year for her "Savoring" Exhibit at the South Dakota Museum of Art in Brookings, and I wrote three persona poems in response to her portraits. I found it challenging and exhilarating to respond in writing to Betty's beautiful portraits,to watch three new poems emerge that surprised me. When Betty asked me to work with her on P3--only this time I'd be writing in response to abstract collages--I was terrified. I wanted to do jump in to the deep end of the pool, but what if I sunk?
I wrote numerous drafts and revisions, emailed them to Betty and she'd reply "Keep going!" She'd give me big picture comments as well as specific word choice comments. Once we met for lunch midway between Marshall and Brookings at Lange's Restaurant in Pipestone, Minn. We talked poetry and art, devoured their delicious homemade pie, and I kept going on the next revision. Now I'm a believer, a convert to collaboration. I encourage you to pair up with a visual artist and see what new poetry--or fiction, creative nonfiction, graphic novel--might be born.
If as a writer you have collaborated with an artist, I'd love to hear about your adventures, what worked, what obstacles your pushed through, how you built trust, what surprised you about the process. Please leave your comments.