Sunday, June 15, 2008

Introducing Miriam Sagan

I wrote participating PWP readers for bio and more to introduce them on the blog. Eventually I hope to post an intro + links/sample poems for all our pwp readers. Miriam kindly sent me this:

Hi, as far as I know, I'm reading & also teaching at the festival. I'll be doing a workshop on The Land/An Art Site. I've been working with The Land for about a year. Here is a bit about my project, and also a poem I wrote about the sky over the Land. My husband Rich and I made a special trip to see it. Enjoy!
Miriam Sagan

In August, 2007, I received a residency grant to work on The Land/An Art Site--an innovative project in Mountainair, New Mexico .( The Land hosts artists internationally to create nonimpact land based art. Usually residences are a week or more, but I decided to visit frequently over a year’s period. It is also unusual for a poet to work with The Land.

As a result, I have written an eight section poetry cycle, which deals with themes ranging from Western landscape art to actual pieces on the land to the role of dream and memory. On April 19th, 2008 I presented my work, including a notebook of documentation, at the opening of The Land’s new Albuquerque gallery on Granite Street

I am now working on installing the piece. The sculpture will be a weathered ranch style clothesline, with part of the poem hanging from it on gauze sheets. The poem is composed of out take lines from all the sections, and exists only as an ephemeral synthesis.

When the sculpture is installed, it will be videotaped. In August I will participate in the Mountainair poetry festival, read the entire poem, and teach a writing workshop on The Land. I expect to also design and produce a pamphlet of the work for distribution through the gallery.

Obviously this has been an incredible opportunity for me--to work in a completely new way as a poet, to engage in different communities locally, to work as a visual artists, and to collaborate with crafts people. Aesthetically, I have been exploring new terrain--work in which there is an emphasis on boundaries in time and space and most crucially, between the suburban and the wild, a zone earthworks artist Robert Smithson calls “the sund.”


Antelope, jack rabbits, dusk
Comes on
Civil twilight, then nautical
As if light were a little ship
Slipping over the horizon
Sirius, dog star brightest
at this latitude
Contrails like speedboat wake
Give way to velveteen sky
Saturn, whose rings we can’t see
Without the binoculars
We left on the shelf at home,
Castor and Pollux
Shining on either side.
And gradually, like invisible ink
The constellations you point out
Begin to define themselves
Dipper, Orion, the city of Albuquerque faint glow to the north.
Stars come out in nightsky, cryptobiotic
Mark direction
As clearly as in the planetarium.
Planes above us headed somewhere else
I’d like to know
And how each passenger
Is doing, reading, dozing,
Worrying about the past
As ice clinks in plastic cups.
Try painting all this
With whiteout
On carbon paper.
On earth
The flying star weed called
I’m cold, now, ready
To go
You say--”you do the Cliff Notes
Of altered states.”
Aldeberon, Betelgeuse, Procyon
And smoke from the Manzanos
Burning all night
Highway flashing sign
These stars
Like the ceiling
Of the Shaffer Hotel:
Lion’s head, masked dancers, backwards swastikas of migration
Thunderbird, lightning zigzag, a narrative of relocation.
These stars
By dawn
Will unfold their wings
And fly away again
Like mourning doves in the yard below us.
more - links to poems & books by Miriam from the SF Broadside

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