Friday, November 18, 2011

Art: Collaboration with Jessica Bell

I have been unbelievably excited to share this project with you. As you know, my poems are ignited by looking at visual art. I look at it, and examine my own reactions--what is it about this piece that speaks to me? Why?

I'm thrilled to let you know that I've been working with artist Jessica Bell in the reverse of this process; I shared work with her that speaks to what she does as an artist, and she has created something visual in response to my poem.

If you don't know Jessica's art, I'm happy to introduce you to it (I know you'll love it). Her works remind me of maps, the sky, aerial views of land. When I look at her pieces (whether textile, paint, paper, or photography), I think of icebergs, stones, the ocean, and constellations.

Appropriately, Jessica chose to work with a poem of mine about the stars--"Apparent Magnitude." Just as my poems are not simply descriptions, her art is not a literal translation of this poem. Our work is a dialogue about proximity, language, and finding order in this unraveling world. I'm crazy about what she made, and hope you are, too. In the future, there may be more of these...

Here's the piece she created, and the larger piece in which she included the text of the poem (click the images to see them more closely).

Creative Commons License
Apparent Magnitude by Hannah Stephenson and Jessica Bell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. I am stunned with beauty.... (and just a weensy bit of jealousy!) Let us know when the show opens and in what gallery in NYC.

  2. Constellations in words and images, so beautiful! Thank you Hannah and Jessica.

  3. Great collaboration, Hannah. It's wonderful to see what comes out of this kind of sharing. In this case, the result is superb, good enough to consider doing for exhibition and a book.

    Every year the Workhouse Arts Center, in Lorton, Va. (it's the old Lorton prison re-purposed) holds a show in which poets and visual artists collaborate. I've always wanted to enter it.

  4. This was such a delight, Hannah. Let's do a gazillion more.

  5. I'm too untrained to comment about art, but I sure do like this.

  6. Hi Hannah,

    I love your poem and the illustration. Even before reading your poem, the title and Jessica's art are perfect together. Both are expansive, and yet intimate; much like our response to the stars and our need to bring them closer.

  7. This is magnificent. I am just blown away, first by the painting and then by the poem - because I came to them in that order. I shall have to come back to this. Congratulations each.

  8. A gazillion more would be welcome.

  9. Beautiful! I have to respond with an image:

    Celestial Southwest

    (from The Celestial Desert)


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