I usually write poems on planes and I don't fly very often. I think there's something about being that far above ground and so distant from earth. My artwork is often derivative of exploration and transport, so I think writing on planes is very fitting. I also try to write in moments where I feel both calm and bored, which isn't as often as I would like. (This also means I must feel calm, bored, and not be sitting in front of a television screen or food.) One of my favorite poets is Frank O'Hara. I loved his ability to write his poems on his lunch break or come up with lines like "we could manage cocktails out of ice and water". It just kills me.
I think writing activates a part of my brain that visual art can't. It is satisfying to create something with language instead of objects, images, or other media. However, I think there is a correlation between the poems and my newer work; both can be minimal in form and still carry conceptual weight. My art work, although different in medium and complexity, is catching up to my poetry in its formation and realization. I'm always trying to bridge the gap between the two modes of working. It helps to write poems on planes and see the earth from the sky.
- Debra Barrera