Gabriela Denise Frank
3 Questions for Gabriela
What is the significance of this work to you?
These poems, which belong to a collection, resulted from years of questions banging around in my head. In the early 2000s I became involved in a relationship that devastated my career, marriage, and sense of self; Aimee Mann’s Lost in Space was on permanent rotation that year. I clung to that album as some sort of mystical source text, though I couldn’t pinpoint why. It was moody, of course, but there was something more—I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
What was your process for creating this work?
Fifteen years later, that relationship nagged at me. How could I have put my trust in that person? Why didn’t I know better? And what were Mann’s songs trying to tell me? I was experimenting with erasure poetry and realized that I could use erasure to get at the heartbeat beneath her lyrics. There I found the warnings I didn’t want to face in the midst of it: they pulsed in the bass line and dangled in the hook.
What is the significance of the form/genre you chose for this work?
As I uncovered the erasure poems, each asked for a different visual embodiment—a new way of being in the world. I have a background in visual art, so I’m always playing around with painting, collage, ink, etc. These pieces seemed to want collage. Stepping back, I began to see how the combination of erasure and collage gave voice to what went unspoken for so long. Rather than speak in concrete language they made space for the viewer to intermingle feelings, memories, and experiences with love and grief. Each time I look at them, I see something different; that mutability and multifacetedness is a more accurate portrayal of this relationship than prose alone could be.
Gabriela Denise Frank is a Pacific Northwest writer, editor, and creative writing instructor. Her work has been published in Poetry Northwest, True Story, DIAGRAM, Hunger Mountain, HAD, Bayou, Baltimore Review, The Normal School, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She serves as the creative nonfiction editor of Crab Creek Review. www.gabrieladenisefrank.com