Excerpt: “The Poetic Dialogue,” a panel discussion delivered at the Art in Society Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland August 2006. Published in the International Journal of the Arts in Society
(Common Ground Publishing, Ltd. Melbourne, Australia)
Seventy Degrees on the Winter Solstice, The piece is highly interactive: the visual is obviously present, but also present is scent, in the form of dried roses at the bottom of the house structure, and sound, as the poem itself is read by Behn on a recording integrated into the piece. The installation is made rich by the metaphor of poetry, as the poetry is fully enhanced by the sensuality of the artwork.
Robin Behn speaks of her first encounter with Cloud’s work…“I had the profound experience of walking into the gallery and encountering Laura Cloud’s sculpture for my poem “The God Hole.” What Laura did, it seems to me, is to isolate the elements of this poem, and contemplate…each one of the elements. With her extraordinary capacity to observe with patience and passion the elements of the world, in this case the world of my poem, she literally brought my images to life. She filled them with a life beyond my own wildest imaginings. I had the feeling…that my poem has been raised to its essentials, and those essences have been given a dwelling place…Laura seemed to see into my imaginative processes to the place where the images themselves had first been born, had first arisen, and spoken back right to that place, perceiving a relationship among the images that I myself could not quite see, blinded as I was by the mere story of which they were a part…My poem, being narrative, moves through and talks about time, occurrences. But Laura’s piece is lyric writ large. To take in both is to experience both narrative and lyric time simultaneously.”
Robin Behn has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches in the MFA Programs in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama and Vermont College.