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Process Note on my Poem "Aspic Lipstick Fabric District Prayer" Natasha Dennerstein

Natasha Dennerstein and Kaye Freeman
April 27, 2018

Process Note on my Poem "Aspic Lipstick Fabric District Prayer" Natasha Dennerstein

Process Note on my Poem "Aspic Lipstick Fabric District Prayer" Natasha Dennerstein

About a Girl by Natasha Dennerstein

I have been collaborating with LA painter, Kaye Freeman. A detail of her large painting “The Emperor’s Twit” was used as the cover of my last book from Norfolk Press in San Francisco, a novella-in-verse “About a Girl.”

I have also read poems at one of Kaye’s art exhibitions that she did with sculptor Cybele Rowe in LA at Castelli Gallery. So Kaye and I have decided to work together on a side-project with the working title “Around This Planet.” We have both lived in a variety of continents and places in our lives, so decided to write and paint about place. Kaye has already been on a painting trip in LA, obsessed with the city, so I wrote a few poems about the city. Sometimes she has been taken with one of my poems and painted/drawn to it and other times I have written poems inspired by her works. Also, at times, we will suggest a place, then go away separately and write/draw to the theme.


Natasha and friend Kaye Freeman

With my poem in the NAR, I wanted to visit the fabric district as Kaye has painted huge, bright, abstract canvases of scenes in DTLA. I simply walked through the fabric district and then made lists of things I had seen: bolts of bronze, sequined fabric, rolls of lime tulle, et cetera. With the list on the left side of the page I tend to write on the right, dipping into the list. I make choices often for sonic reasons. The themes or narrative in the poem were unplanned but just presented themselves during writing. What I had were the fabrics or words for them. The “revenge dress” and the “slaying” aspect made the narrative a Hollywood Awards night theme, and the narrator needed a cheap dress that looked expensive. The prayer aspect just inveigled its way in there. So what I ended up with was a micro-narrative, full of very visual fabric choices. My initial intent was just to fashion a poem set on that street with garish fabric visuals inspired by Kaye’s highly colored palette.

Natasha Dennerstein

Natasha DennersteinNatasha Dennerstein was born in Melbourne, Australia, to a family originating in Belarus.  She worked as a psychiatric nurse for many years, which gave her an interesting perspective on the human condition. She has an MFA from San Francisco State University. Natasha has had poetry published in many journals including Landfall, Shenandoah, Bloom, Red Light Lit, Spoon River Poetry Review, Foglifter and North American Review. Her collections Anatomize(2015), Triptych Caliform (2016) and her novella-in-verse About a Girl (2017) were published by Norfolk Press in San Francisco. Her chapbook Seahorse (2017) was published by Nomadic Press in Oakland.

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