To pair images of these fragments of teenage life with his own poems
She says, he says...
We’ve all been there. Teenage-hood. But when you are a parent looking into that forgotten world of drama and intensity, you see this critical period in a completely different and distant light. And the beam Biman shines on his daughter’s life is one of empathy and curiosity. He works language like an architect, piecing together a life from a bit of clay, a chipped tooth, a bone shard.
In one of our favorite pairings from the collection, Biman’s daughter’s blue-striped, ripped paper reads: “She got slapped for talking / Finale was intense / Burning houses / Sometimes I’m in character. It / doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.”
Out of the mouths of babes...
Side-by-side with each other, the poems act as translator for these somewhat oracular messages from an unknown world of teenage gossip and pop culture references. We had almost forgotten how wise and prescient children can be. Biman reminded us with expansive imagination, bright color, and fatherly tenderness.
Putting it all together...
If Biman was the archaeologist, he certainly made us feel like we were right there with him at the excavation site. He supplied his poems and photographs of his daughter’s handwritten notes, and we helped him arrange them into cohesion and brush off the last bits of dust with a few rounds of line-by-line critique and proofreading. Because we were working from bits of paper and original art (yes, Biman even created the art for the cover!), we wanted to make sure the interior and cover images were crystal-clear and not the least bit grainy (we admit it, we are perfectionists when it comes to quality!).
And when we lifted our collaborative effort into the light, we couldn’t stop thumbing through this beautiful call and response between generations, this gleaming body materialized from mere shreds of scribbled-upon paper.
How do those lines from a Midsummer Night’s Dream go? “And as the imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name.” Yeah, that’s what working with Biman felt like.