This PRI interview with poet Molly Peacock about her new book The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 (Bloomsbury, USA) touches on two of my keen interests: collage and late life creativity.
The story of Mary Delaney, the woman who invented collage in the 1770s at age 72 or 73 as a response to her life experience, is presented by Peacock in a kind of literary collage. Delaney's process was radical for its time, and she herself was an unlikely artist. Learn how Molly Peacock relates to the process of collage-making as a poet and therefore collagist of words and fragments, and listen to the hopefulness she finds in the awakening of late life creativity as a boon of aging.
As a writer whose poetry has only started to take a serious place in my life now in my mid-40s, I often feel handicapped by my age (especially surrounded in the poetry world by so many recent grads of MFA programs themselves in their 20s with publications and awards I could never aspire to) , so late life creativity is an inspiring topic. Health concerns in my family also make me fearful of the future, so hearing a story like Mary Delaney's does much for me what it did for Molly Peacock, whose own mother died at the age at which Delaney began to blossom artistically and who also has in her family a sense of portending doom due to health issues.
Plus it's good to know collage was invented by a woman. But then, thinking about it, should that innovation have come as a surprise? Who, after all, has to make art with the remnants of time and materials left after taking care of everyone else's lives: men or women artists?
I can't wait to get my hands on this new book by Molly Peacock.