Tripod Blog: How do the arts impact your art?
RNW: Literature –– especially poetry –– has long been a major influence on my work and on my life. Alex and I were both literature majors in college, so besides our large collection of photography books, we have an equally large collection of novels, essays, and poetry books.
For instance, while working on My Dakota, which is an elegy for one of my brothers, I turned to poetry books for solace, not to my vast collection of photography books. During those first difficult months, some of the only poems that spoke to me were villanelles, such as Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” or Roethke’s “The Waking,” a poetic form whose two refrains are repeated four times each.
Each time a refrain is repeated –– such as Roethke’s haunting line, “I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow” –– the meaning shifts, sometimes questioning the original meaning, sometime meandering off, sometimes circling back.
So in part, it was because those villanelles spoke to me when I was most grief struck that I managed to uncover the book’s organic rhythm and sequence, whose repeated photographic and text images–– such as apples and swallows’ nests and waves –– echo the confused, meandering path of my own grief.
UPCOMING EVENTS: MAY & JUNE
––THURSDAY, MAY 24, NEW YORK, NY: My Dakota book launch at ICP, May 24″ href=”http://www.icp.org/events/2012/may/24/book-signing-rebecca-webb-norriss-my-dakota” target=”_blank”>My Dakota book launch, party and book signing at ICP (43d and Sixth Ave), 6-7:30.
RAPID CITY, SD
––FRIDAY, JUNE 1, RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA: “My Dakota” exhibition opening and book party, Dahl Arts Center, 6-8pm. The exhibition will run until October 13, 2012.
SATURDAY, JUNE 9, AT LOOK3 PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL
4-6pm Alex Webb in conversation with noted writer and cultural critic Geoff Dyer
6-7pm: Book signing with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb at the Second Street Gallery
9pm: “My Dakota” in the WORKS slide show