To Float, To Breathe, To Hear (After John Cage) by Laura Christensen & Marjorie Thomsen

Process Notes

Laura Christensen on Collaboration

In my artwork, I paint on found portraits and snapshots, cancelling parts of images and conjuring new illusions– all of which are further recreated when combined with a poem.

I invited Marjorie Thomsen and Christine Poreba to write in response to my work. These two pairings are part of a book project involving several authors. In 2019, I plan to publish a limited edition of this unique project. To follow along and learn more, please visit my website and subscribe:

Marjorie Thomsen on Collaboration

There is a timelessness in Laura’s artwork, a sense of past, present and future in the faces, the whimsy, the story told and untold in the images. For me, I was inspired to both recall childhood and imagine my own children’s current intimate experience of youth. To me, the surreal beauties that Laura infuses into her work allows for what John Keats called “Negative Capability” in a poem. He defines it as “when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” I was moved to write about one possible moment, yet with enough nuance to bask in the broadness of one’s questions and narrative.








Laura Christensen is a visual artist who transforms vintage photographs. Her work has received several awards, including two Artists’ Resource Trust Grants, and two Individual Artist Grants from the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshires. She has exhibited her work widely for over 20 years. Recent exhibits include shows at Bennington Museum, The Arts Center of the Capital Region, and Simmons College. Pairings of her art and writings-in-response have been published in Clarkesworld, carte blanche, and Rattle. She lives in western Massachusetts.

Marjorie Thomsen, author of “Pretty Things Please” (Turning Point, 2016), has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her poems have been read on The Writers Almanac and she has received poetry awards from the New England Poetry Club, the University of Iowa School of Social Work, Poetica Magazine and others. A poem about hiking in a dress and high heels has been made into a short animated film. She’s earned certification from Mass Poetry and Lesley University to become a Poet in Residence in the Massachusetts Public Schools and elsewhere. Marjorie serves on the board of the New England Poetry Club and is an instructor at Boston University’s School of Social Work. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.