A Collaborative, New Book
This summer, we are delighted to share this colorful book with you. In this interview, Jess Yowell of Elyssar Press got to sit down with Alice Pero and and Vera Campion to discuss their collaborative book called Beyond Birds and Answers. As the title promises, this book does not leave readers with answers, but rather, delights them with colorful visuals and whimsical poetic promises.
As Alice Pero describes too, it is not an easy book to explain.
“Thinking of what to say to introduce this book is like trying to put the wind in a bottle or running to catch a firefly. Once the decision to exchange words and images was made between us, it became a flow, a natural function of spirit, somewhat effortless. Of course the shaping came later, putting this book together as a carefully designed work of art.”Alice Pero, poet
Early in the interview, Jess Yowell invites Alice Pero to read some of her poetry.
Enjoy the interview, below, as well as a few highlights we include in this blog. Feel free to share this article with a friend who might enjoy this book too, as well as great discussions on the collaborative process of creating visual and written dialogues.
You can also Follow the book on Facebook, and purchase the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is also available on Indiebound, Books Inc., Cellar Door Bookstore, Bokus, Brain Lair Books, Iconoclast Books, Rainy Day Books, Belmont Books, Napa Bookmine, Booktowne, Leana’s Books & More, Print Bookstore, Green Apple Books, Booksmith, and many more.
3 Takeaways from the Interview:
For a brief summary of the in-depth interview, we offer a few highlights below.
Dialoguing is a special, intimate exchange between two or multiple artists
Alice Pero shares about dialogues with other poets, as she has written thousands of pages, “many of which may never see the light of day,” she jokes. In the case of Beyond Birds and Answers, dialoguing refers to the process of Alice Pero, as the poet, sharing a poem with visual artist Vera Campion, who responds to Pero’s written work with a visual. Upon receiving the visual, Alice Pero writes a new poem, in response to Campion’s interpretation of her original poem.
What results is a special exchange, where readers get to witness the collaborative process in a way, by seeing the artists respond to each other.
Collages in this Book Enhance the Dreamlike Mood
Vera Campion’s art has been likened to Matisse. Her collages in this book are just as captivating. At about 25 minutes into the interview, Campion describes what it was like to create artwork in April of 2020, a time when she was not able to get outside much due to the pandemic.
That collage with tulips (displayed at the 26:13 mark) features rice paper. A strong dark diagonal lingers behind five striking poppies of various heights. It’s almost as if viewers can enter the scene from the vantage point of an insect. This detail adds to the whimsical dreamlike mood of this entire publication.
Linking the Material and Spiritual World is a Common Thread
The world here is slightly playful, colorful, and striking. The book reads like a relieving break from the stresses of daily life. Alice Pero shares (at about 32:00 minutes) that the link between the material and spiritual world lingers throughout this book.
“There is more to life than our bodies and the immediate things that we see or experience,” Pero shares. At Elyssar Press, we embrace this perspective that invites people to wonder about what is beyond our immediate perception. And Beyond Birds and Answers certainly does just that.