Photo by Ryan Jones, 2015
Since my high school days, I've pursued projects fueled by collaboration between the arts. How might dancers, sculptors, sound artists, playwrights, and poets strengthen and widen a story, emotion, or concept together?
(photo): by Astrid Kaemmerling from "This morning, I leave the house," Grand Rapids MI, an installation by artists Astrid Kaemmerling and Danielle Wyckoff. "All Day, I let the house" by Becca J.R. Lachman (originally published in Consequence Magazine).
-selections, "pie poems" series (from Other Acreage) on Vimeo. These video pieces are in collaboration with artists Melissa Haviland and David Colagiovanni.
-2014 New Books in Literature author interview hosted by Eric LeMay.
Image: Astrid Kaemmerling, The Innards of a Room, Mixed-media on Paper, 8.5x11in., 2017.
The rings of a tree can tell us
its complete story: a long-lasting drought, sudden fires,
how the whole protected itself to keep
growing its biography.
Somewhere, a turntable
that plays round records of heartwood:
no skipping, only textures
of sunlight, changes in tempo and pitch,
atonal data, a map of survival
we must lean in, together, to hear.
Interdisciplinary artist-scholars Astrid Kaemmerling and Becca J.R. Lachman’s book-length collaboration HOME - SICK has been fueled by mailing stanzas and mixed-media collages between SE Ohio and the Bay Area since 2015.
Through this creative cross-pollination and long-distance friendship, their work more fully enters themes of body as home and space as story, even when that home is unsafe, unfinished, or carries weighty mysteries “too close to home,” such as unexplained infertility or personal trauma carried into our evolving adult lives and sense of selves.
The reason people use the term homesickness is usually because they are missing something they love or something that gives them comfort. With lyric poetry and mixed-media on paper (and installations in exhibit form), Kaemmerling and Lachman artistically and sometimes literally trace the outlines and shapes of unique but universal stories related to home-building.
Likewise, their collaboration seeks to better claim and publicly articulate their current narratives as growing feminists and female artists fulfilling various roles. Sectioned narratives play with time, space and order. Whether an actual house going through years of renovation, or a body and spirit doing the same, the work leans into and against the domestic, the feminine and feminist, and the power of female friendship to coax/demand/sing a story to the surface, and a life imagined or hoped-for into clearer view.
Creation in general—especially, we would argue, for women— is still often a violent or risky story, one we as a cultural audience both cling to, expect and celebrate, especially if the narrative offers an ending we can literally and figuratively live with: a healthy pregnancy, a happy family, a perfect home, even a female artist “in her place.” HOME – SICK navigates alternative creation myths we have needed to tell at this stage in our lives in order to move into the rooms waiting for us, made for us, and made by us.
photo by Becca J.R. Lachman
Crane Hollow Preserve, SE Ohio
from "The World From Up Here," The Apple Speaks
photo: Otterbein University
Features new poems by Ted Kooser, Robert Bly, Toi Derricotte, Kim Stafford, Molly Peacock, Jeff Gundy, and many others who are inspired by--and who wrestle with--William Stafford's lessons and legacy.
Powell's Books, Portland OR
photo: Powell's Books
Reading in Athens, OH. Photo by Kari Peterson.
An interactive series of readings and discussions about what it means to build a literary life, the festival featured some of the Creative Writing Program's most successful recent alumni, all of whom read from their work, participated in an "Inside the Writer's Studio" live interview, and led our explorations in a Literary Citizenship Symposium with area high school students, community members, and college students.
(L to R) Terry Hermsen, Jen Knox, Jennifer Roberts, Becca J.R. Lachman, Chuck Salmons, Ladan Osman. Photo: Otterbein University.
Working with area high school students, Otterbein University.
At Literary Citizenship Festival, guest writer, Otterbein University.
Photo courtesy of Otterbein University's Office of Alumni.