Take This Quiz

Still from Patrick Moser’s quiz response

 

For this recurring feature, we’re asking artists and poets to answer a quiz composed of questions from ten contemporary poems.

Sources for the questions and how to find these poems are included below. Here are the artists and poets who replied to our first round:

Liz Rodda
Jim Mattei
Christine Nguyen
Patrick Moser
Allan Peterson
Emily Hunt
Cyriaco Lopes and Terri Witek

 

LIZ RODDA

 

Who has a mask, & a heart?

 


 

What is more distracting than clouds?

  

 

Who would you change for?

 

 

 

Which system is most miraculous?

 

 

 

 

What do we sing to a man who’s drowning?

 

 

 

 

 

JIM MATTEI

 

Where are you planted?

Brooklyn at present, but with roots spread across many states and continents. Am happy to sprout up in the cracks in the sidewalk or a mountain side.

 

Who has a mask, & a heart?

Children.

 

What is more distracting than clouds?

Ocean waves. Can ponder for days. Though I find both very soothing and essential.

 

I keep an empty blue vase./I should fill it. With what, white mice and charcoal?

I imagine the tiny mice popping out and their white bottoms adorable from charcoal dust.

 

Do you ever hate being American, flying Virgin, loving the master?

Never really hate being an American, though I wish there was more compassion. And less grouchy folk. Haven’t had the chance to be vexed with Virgin. And there is always something positive in loving whatever form the master takes.

 

Who would you change for?

Constantly changing, reminded daily that there is always more to do and learn. There was an amazing hash tag via the Curiosity rover’s twitter feed on New Year’s Day, #daremightythings. How can the outcome not lead to change.

Willem DeKooning’s “I can change overnight” is also good.

 

If scissors aren’t the answer, what’s a doll to do?

Make paper snowflakes perhaps.

 

Which system is most miraculous?

The universe, it’s still expanding, it contains everything, started with the Big Bang. We are not even close to grasping all it contains. Limitless. Amazing.  It contains our solar system which in itself leaves me awestruck and scratching my head. Miraculous indeed.

 

Do you go in or stay out of the house of words?

I’d open the second floor window carefully and quietly before entering.

 

What do we sing to a man who’s drowning?

I’ll save you! Or if I can’t save him–

Act III, Scene 4, Le Sommeil, from Lully’s Atys, performed by Les Arts Florissants and William Christie. It’s from one of my favorite operas. The music is stunning. Peaceful. Makes me woozy.

A youtube link is below as well, doesn’t do it justice really, but the music is beautiful.

From the libretto: it’s sung in french, english is below

The scene begin with Atys, Sleep, Morpheus, Phobetor, Phantasmus, The Pleasant Dreams, The Baneful Dreams on stage as Atys sleeps:

SLEEP “Let us sleep, let us all sleep; Ah! How sweet is rest!”

MORPHEUS “Reign, divine Sleep, reign over all the world;

Scatter your most soporiferous poppies;

Beguile care, charm the senses,

Secure all hearts in deep tranquility.”

PHOBETOR “Let no brutal noise be made,

Flow, murmur, ye clear streams;

Only the sound of waters

Lulls the sweetness of such delightful silence.

SLEEP ”Let us sleep, let us all sleep; Ah! How sweet is rest!”

MORPHEUS, PHOBETOR, PHANTASMUS ”Let us sleep, let us all sleep; Ah! How sweet is rest!”

 

 

 

 

CHRISTINE NGUYEN

 

(First Row, L to R) 1) Where are you planted? 2) Who has a mask, & a heart? 3) What is more distracting than clouds? 4) I keep an empty blue vase./I should fill it. With what, white mice and charcoal? 5) Do you ever hate being American, flying Virgin, loving the master? (Second Row, L to R) 6) Who would you change for? 7) If scissors aren’t the answer, what’s a doll to do? Eight) Which system is most miraculous? 9) Do you go in or stay out of the house of words? 10) What do we sing to a man who’s drowning?



 

 

 

 

PATRICK MOSER

 

Where are you planted?

 

Who has a mask & a heart?


 

 

 

What is more distracting than clouds?

 

 

If scissors aren’t the answer, what’s a doll to do?

 

 

 

 

Do you go in or stay out of the house of words?

 

 

 

What to we sing to a man who’s drowning?

 Van Halen, whispered.

 

 

 

ALLAN PETERSON

 

Where are you planted?

Between my exuberant maximums and promising minimums.Within my heartfelt withstandables. Somewhat short of my fully comprehensibles.  Conveniently close to my embraceables. More vegetatively speaking, low temperature can limit survival and is a factor in considering advantage or deficit for development in any location. Strangely, heat is less so. I can sit comfortably above the century mark on the silica beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and have my root extension proceed normally while having my phototropism at peak efficiency. Moisture must always be considered, of course, and to that end I try to stay fully hydrated. I thrive amidst profusion. Lush provides nutrients. Humus and loam. Complexity is an auxin, old growth my gibberellin. Every place I am is a Hardiness Zone.

 

Who has a mask, & a heart?

The Wood Frog, rana sylvatica. Its mask is an identifying feature which rather defeats the usual purpose of a mask, that of preventing recognition. It is held in place by two dorsolateral ridges. It does not rob.

It is however, a hugger, an unusual characteristic for maskers, and has enlarged thumbs for better gripping. If you have ever been frog hugged you will know what I mean. Not only does it have a heart, it’s heart is three-chambered instead of four. If the princess knew this, it might have caused her to kiss it out of compassion.

 

What is more distracting than clouds?

 

Not distracting for long, of course, but then clouds are themselves self limiting. I have seen the clearly recognizable sub continent of India dissolve in a matter of minutes.

 

I keep an empty blue vase./I should fill it. With what, white mice and charcoal?

I will presume it’s cerulean like mine, sky color, not quite cyan, heavenly, hence the name. Other heavenly contents might be appropriate as such as star thistle, actiosphaerium (a heliozoan), sundews, helianthus, Tears of the Sun, and classy stuff like that.

 

If scissors aren’t the answer, what’s a doll to do?

Let’s talk this over. If the cause of these disturbing thoughts of harming yourself is related to loss of limbs or persistent humiliation of floppyness,  stitching can be used to take the place of traditional joints while keeping the legs on and still providing an acceptable range of motion, tho over flexion should be avoided. The same applies to shoulders. You have the advantage of not having a joint held together with multiple connections and interactions of bone, cartilage, and tendon. Simple sewn seams can restore an acceptable flexibility damaged by, say the dog’s  vigorous shaking.  Given the primacy of vision, the eye’s delicate mechanism is often the focus (pun intended) of considerable anxiety. This anxiety does not apply if you have buttons or glass eyes such as taxidermists use , but specifically to the more lifelike moveable ones. The problem centers around the tendency for them to be stuck, so that one may be taken for dead if stuck closed sitting up, or drugged if stuck open when reclining. The most unnerving is when only one eye is stuck in one position or another, giving a particularly bizarre appearance. Frequent sit-ups should keep the weighted mechanism in good working order producing relief from uncertainty.

 

Which system is most miraculous?

The Egocentric system, entirely human, in which the erythrocytes, platelets, leucocytes and other fractions circulate oxygen, nutrients and lymph.

At the center of this spiral galaxy is a collection of suppositions, superstitions, biases, urges, some good intentions, sex thoughts, self preservation mechanisms, boundless self assurance and arrogance. This is essentially an unstable system, subject to periodic outbursts comparable to novas. The spinning of such volatile constituents can produce an existential dizziness.

With only limited self reflection, the system is given to delusions such as not being  connected to nature, that a all powerful person lives in the sky, that they are constantly being watched.

 

What do we sing to a man who’s drowning?

The first thing learned in swimming classes is the unfortunately named “Dead Man’s Float,”  Without time to fully instruct and practice this maneuver, other means must be considered. Of course, we question the choice of singing at a time of crisis unless all hope is lost. Even then, better after, than during. A better course is to take action. Bystander inaction, or standing and pointing, makes a poor impression to those in peril.

It is also worthwhile to note that, according to the American Medical Association, swimming skills may not save the victim anyway. In their opinion, lack of self reliance and coping skills are the problem, not swimming ability. They note that without a positive self image, victims may resort to useless panicking, crying or waiting for help. Helplessness can be a learned behavior in or out of the water.

See if you can assess whether you have a whiner on your hands

Try to determine if the man is possibly just waving, not drowning

The most compassionate action would be to throw them a rope while singing

“Haul Away Joe.” Do not bother with “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat.”

 

 

 

 

EMILY HUNT


Where are you planted?

beside a fish and a blue light

 

Who has a mask, & a heart?

me

 

What is more distracting than clouds?

AN APPLE, ORGANIZATIONALLY

An ache in the back of the eyeballs some,
and how that was never to have befriended an object

And objects came to be justified
that they had no life or meaning

Except to be judged daynight and tomorrow

And little by little these came to be objects everywhere,
and counted clouds, and objects came to be clouds

-Alfred Starr Hamilton, A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind

 

I keep an empty blue vase./I should fill it. With what, white mice and charcoal?

yes or yes but not both

 

Do you ever hate being American, flying Virgin, loving the master?

yes, I have never, yes

 

Who would you change for?

the changing master / the system below

 

If scissors aren’t the answer, what’s a doll to do?

speak

 

Which system is most miraculous?

The one and only

 

Do you go in or stay out of the house of words?

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

 

What do we sing to a man who’s drowning?

love

 

 

 

 

CYRIACO LOPES & TERRI WITEK

 

Where are you planted?

    in the eclipse

 

Who has a mask, & a heart?

 

 

What is more distracting than clouds?

   you asked me twice but I still couldn’t follow

 

I keep an empty blue vase./I should fill it. With what, white mice and charcoal?

 

 

Do you ever hate being American, flying Virgin, loving the master?

1.                      2.  eats               3.  air

 

Who would you change for?

 

 

If scissors aren’t the answer, what’s a doll to do?

    red ribbon

 

Which system is most miraculous?

 

Do you go in or stay out of the house of words?

     sem——-same

 

What do we sing to a man who’s drowning?

 

“É Doce Morrer no Mar,” by Dorival Caymmi & Jorge Amado, 1941.

Listen (Marisa Monte & Cesária Évora)

Lyrics translated to English

 

 

 

Liz Rodda is a multi-media artist. Her work has been featured at Dumbo Art Center, NY; CS 13 Art Space, OH; Big Medium, TX; Takt Kunstprojektraum, Berlin, Germany and others. She teaches in the School of Art + Design at Texas State University.

Jim Mattei is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York.

Christine Nguyen lives in Long Beach, California. Solo exhibitions of her work have been featured at the Hammer Museum (Project), Michael Kohn Gallery, Andrewshire Gallery, and 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong.

Patrick Moser lives and works in St Augustine, Florida. He is an Associate Professor of Art and Chair of the Department of Art and Design at Flagler College. He exhibits his paintings, drawings and video work nationally and internationally. His wife is amazing and his son is spectacular. He used to be able to do a 360 degree two-handed dunk quite easily but cannot anymore.

Allan Peterson is a visual artist and poet living in Gulf Breeze, Florida and Ashland Oregon. His book Fragile Acts is a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award.

Emily Hunt‘s poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, Conduit, Sea Ranch, The Volta, and elsewhere. She lives in Northampton, MA.

Cyriaco Lopes is a Brazilian artist whose work has most recently appeared in exhibitions at Baltimore’s Contemporary Museum, El Museo Del Barrio in New York, and at the Contemporary Museum in St. Louis.

Terri Witek is the author of the Shipwreck Dress and other books. She teaches Creative Writing at Stetson University in Florida.

 

Question Sources

Where are you planted? is the title of a poem in Evie Shockley’s the new black

Who has a mask & a heart is from Alice Notley’s poem “White Phosphorus” in Grave of Light

What is more distracting than clouds? is the title of a poem in Matthew Rohrer’s Destroyer and Preserver

I keep an empty blue vase./I should fill it. With what, white mice and a charcoal? is from Jay Hopler’s poem “Meditation on a Blue Vase” in Green Squall

Do you ever hate being American, flying Virgin, loving the master?  is from Julia Bloch’s poem “Dear Kelly, All these weddings” in Letters to Kelly Clarkson

Who would you change for? is from Joanna Klink’s poem “Sorting” in Raptus

If scissors aren’t the answer, what’s a doll to do? is the title of poem in Matthea Harvey’s Modern Life

Which system is the most miraculous? is title of a poem in Catherine Barnett’s The Game of Boxes

Do you go in or stay out of the house of words? is from Jee Leong Koh’s poem “A Lover’s Recourse

What do we sing to a man who’s drowning? is from Terri Witek’s poem”Anchor Sea Shanty” in Exit Island