More than a month ago I attended a fine event at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. It featured a collaborative project uniting Peggy Shumaker‘s poetry with Kesler Woodward‘s paintings. Far from an arbitrary pairing however, the project was very much a call and response between two friends. That evening celebrated an iteration of Kes and Peggy’s exchange captured in the Alaska Quarterly Review. I say iteration because, as you will hear, the current conversation took on a life of its own. Moreover, it isn’t the first time the two have worked together. AQR’s founder and editor Ronald Spatz had featured another collaborative project by Kes and Peggy in the review’s pages eleven years earlier.
However, the conversation that played out at the museum that evening included another writer’s voice, that of the late Eva Saulitis. Peggy and Kes knew her well and the Alaska Quarterly Review dedicated to Saulitis’ memory the issue the featured Peggy and Kes’ conversation. That’s fitting. As you’ll hear, Eva was very much on the minds of both artists as they creatively responded to each other.
I had hoped to have both Kes and Peggy in my studio to continue the conversation. But scheduling wouldn’t permit it. I’ll have them both back at some point, I’m sure. But we are fortunate they recorded a version of their conversation for Ron and AQR and granted me permission to use parts of it for this podcast.
I extend my thanks to Peggy, Kes, Ron Spatz, the Alaska Quarterly Review and Theresa Bakker from the Museum of the North for their help in making this program possible.