Poetry News

'It takes a lot to surrender yourself to something hybrid': An Interview with Bianca Stone

By Harriet Staff

Bianca Stone took part in this interview over at California Journal of Poetics, discussing, primarily, her recent collaboration with Anne Carson.

A sample. Make the jump for the rest. It's great.

Do you often find yourself producing artwork that is related to what you’ve been writing, or poetry that is related to what’s happening in your visual art at the time? Do you find yourself working on projects that you feel need both text and image, but then worry that they’re not going to be able to find a home in print?

My artwork and writing come from the same imaginative place, and so are concerned with many of the same things. However, the impulse to express those themes or concerns can, it’s true, come forth more easily in one medium opposed to the other. I like to believe that in doing so, it can allow the other medium access. More literally, I occasionally have directly addressed the subjects of my artwork (horses leaping over a wave, etc.) in my poetry. But I think it’s more an issue of tone than anything else.

Tone is such an amazing concept to think about. There’s something elusive and yet so specific about it. The momentum and feeling of a poem must be taken into account when creating a drawing based on it–which is why I think I much prefer drawing to my own poetry, because I have the same tonal sensitivity to my own work.

The place I’m at right now in my life in terms of “projects that [ I ] feel need both text and image” is one where I don’t want to write poems that need artwork. I now prefer to use poems that are very “done” and stand on their own. However, I love spontaneity. It’s what drives my work. And the good fragments of failed poems can be used in artwork. In that sense, absolutely, there are instances of dependency.

Practically speaking, the issue of print is MASSIVE. Color and format are the biggest challenge. I’m not a fan of letting strict form (in my poetry comics, and in my poems) control my work. But its something I have to deal with in my artwork, so I’m learning to adapt to more structured, linear forms on the page. Many people don’t have the time, money, or space to print the artwork, which is sad. The other side of the answer is that people have a hard time understanding what the hell I’m doing. They ask me for a poetry comic, but having just seen Antigonick, they don’t really “get” what I end up sending them. And I don’t blame anyone for that. It takes a lot to surrender yourself to something hybrid.

Originally Published: November 27th, 2012