Friday, October 26, 2012

Bookmarks List/Bedside Table

Currently reading/enjoying/watching....

This page about the star life cycle from NASA. This helped me write a poem last week, "Novae," but I keep returning to read more.

This poem, “Made for TV,” by Kathleen Kirk (on StorySouth).

Also this poem, “Breakfast for Supper,” by Christine Stewart-Nunez.

This interview with artist Mary Carlson on Bomb’s blog. Carlson makes some fabulously weird sculptures (check out her Saints and Demons work--WOW!), but I especially love her porcelain Flowers.

And this new process video from Robert Josiah Bingaman (I wrote about his process videos and gorgeous work before). It spawned an interesting conversation I had on Twitter with a few other artists and creative folk....I was asking them a question about poems, which I’ll now ask you. Upon watching this video, I was struck by how many hours (196!!) went into this painting, how many months, and how many layers. I loved watching Bingaman’s underpainting, and how that shaped the final image as we see it.

I was wondering--is there some sort of underwork present within all pieces of art, whether or not it is visible? I’ve never spent even more than 5 hours on an individual poem (more on my collection, now that I think of it---many hours on organizing/arranging, and many more to come), but I wonder if some of the energy from the first images/words on the page survives editing.

What do you think? Is there “underwork” in what you create? And what are you reading/enjoying?


  1. Thank you!

    I love your "underwork" question. At times I can connect to it in looking over work already done, and last year at this time a kind of "underwork" emerged in an urgent series of poems that made themselves be written right then but which had been rumbling for years, no doubt.

    I can see the underwork in my husband's paintings more easily than I can see my own, probably.

  2. That's a wonderful poem by Kathleen -- an on-the-ground report from the border between reality and illusion.

    I take underwork or underpainting to be layers you can't see but are somehow present. I find in writing the stuff you throw away always seems to come back in another form, usually richer. Still I have a hard time visualizing this one. You have to layer paint, that's what builds the richness. With poems, the stuff cut out isn't actually there anymore, in fact one could argue that with poems you take the layers away to achieve the richness. I know I'm taking that too literally, but it's probably because it changes the whole so much to take things out. It's a trick of the ever-connecting mind to think some resonance of it is still there -- as with orphan poems on their own after I'm done with them, so with orphan words and phrases.

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  4. Thanks for these links, Hannah.

    I agree with Kathleen. It's harder for me to see the underwork unless I'm sitting with a batch of poems at the same time. They say we tend to write about the same themes in different ways, and I've seen that in my work at times. Being conscious of this forces me to approach new subject matter, but sometimes it seems the same themes draw me back in.


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