Fellows Friday: Q&A with Kevin Varrone

Kevin Varrone, 2012 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

As part of our “Fellows Friday” web feature, we focus on the artistic lives of our Pew Fellows: their aspirations, influences, and creative challenges. This week, we speak to 2012 Pew Fellow and poet Kevin Varrone. Since receiving his Pew Fellowship, Varrone has developed Box Score: An Autobiography, an app for iPad and iPhone that features work from his book Eephus—a collection of prose poems about baseball—paired with collages. Box Score: An Autobiography, the book version, will be released by Furniture Press in 2014.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

Architecture and carpentry. I’d love to design and build smallish houses—like, old-style shotgun beach cottages. Or have a small farm filled with non-productive animals.

Which artist would you most like to have dinner with, from any time in history?

Joseph Cornell, I think. He was such a strange and interesting guy. He’s from where I’m from and he reminds me of my grandmother.

If you could collaborate with anyone alive today (someone you don’t know personally), who would it be?

I’m very interested in the possibilities of apps for poetry and art, and there are these amazing people at an outfit called Moonbot Studios who produce really gorgeous work. It would be an absolute dream to work with them.

How has your thinking about the business of your practice changed since you started working professionally?

I used to think that good work would find an audience of its own volition—that my job was writing poems, and the rest was up to someone or something else. That was naïve. I currently think there are two things: making work and presenting work. For me, the latter is the business part of it.

What do you most daydream about when you are working?

Clarity, and the coastline of Maine.

Pew Fellow and visual artist Benjamin Volta leads an artmaking workshop as part of Historic Germantown’s ongoing Center-funded project Elephants on the Avenue.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Philip Bither has been the Walker Art Center’s senior curator of performing arts since 1997.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Lynne Ireland is deputy director at the Nebraska State Historical Society, and is the former chair of the Council of the American Association for State and Local History.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Ian Berry is Dayton Director of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.

Grants & Grantees

In 1995 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 16 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 23 dance and music organizations in the greater Philadelphia region.

Filmmaker and Pew Fellow Heidi Saman recalls the first film that influenced her practice, what inspires her to tell stories of the immigrant experience, and more.

Meg Foley presents an exhibition of improvisational research and performance documenting up to 750 dances, which Foley performs on a daily basis at 3:15pm.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Simon Dove is an independent curator and educator, and a co-curator of Crossing the Line, the annual trans-disciplinary fall festival in New York City.

Pew Fellow Yolanda Wisher was appointed the third Philadelphia Poet Laureate by Mayor Jim Kenney on February 5, 2016.

We speak to classical music composer and pianist, Michael Djupstrom who seeks to connect with audiences by bridging traditional and contemporary styles of musical expression.

The Legacy Center at Drexel will take materials from their vast collection—formerly accessible to researchers and scholars only—and make them available online to new audiences.

Grants & Grantees

Thomas Devaney (Pew Fellow, 2014) considers poetry an act of exploration. His work is a lyric evocation of, and meditation upon, remembered people, places, his native city of Philadelphia, and the passage of time.