The Paper Girl, my first poetry collection, features 25 poems, which were eventually narrowed down to eight for the exhibit, “Off the Sidewalk.” At Africa House, each poem was displayed on a panel alongside the painting it inspired.
The article by Casey Gillis writes:
While both brother and sister regularly reference their upbringing in their work, the Africa House collaboration was something new.
“It is different from the creative process that I’ve developed over time,” Daniel says.
“With this project, each artist is thinking of the other artist. … There [was] a merging, an adding and subtracting process. Often I asked myself, ‘How much do I want to tell here, or show here?’ Or I would think to myself, ‘The poems say it all; the paintings are ghosts, afterglows, somewhat contradictory to the poet’s account of the story.’ I shared many of the same experiences with my sister, but maybe remembered them a little differently, [or] maybe she felt or saw something I didn’t feel.”
For Jessica, the poems were already completed, so it became a matter of sharing the work with Daniel to get his perspective.
“It’s been so rewarding to see my poems come to life. I feel like he’s really capturing the emotional tone of the poems, the pain inside a child from indoctrination, the fear that they aren’t fitting [into] this very conventional institution. But he also just captures, I think, the hope that the child has, the beauty of her natural surroundings. And then, you know, there’s a lot of quirkiness in a large family, so I think he captures that humor.”