No. 31 - At work with Liz Adams - a look back at Issue No. 4 - Summer 2018.

Photography by Emily Fishman


August 25th, 2019

Part of the thrill of editing Curlew Quarterly rests with the joy of experiencing our contributors' writing spaces, and hearing their take on what the space has meant for their work, as well as how the space influences their process.

As for spaces to remember, the artist and poet, Liz Adam’s, studio in Harlem deserves mentioning, as well as a look back. The cover of Issue No. 4 – Summer 2018 was shot by Emily Fishman from the roof of the studio, and the two photographs from our daily were taken from inside the space, as Adams and Tom Davidson spoke on a sunny and hot afternoon last July.

A quote from the interview, along with one of Adams’ poems from Issue No. 4, “Self-Portrait as a Still Life,” appear below.

- Isaac Myers III


"I have two places that I do my writing. One is at a small table in here. And I write by hand, so I have notebooks, and then in the middle of a painting day I’ll just take a break, maybe halfway through, and just sit and write. And I feel like this is a very good space to do that, as this is around a lot of other things that I’m making, and a lot of my poems are informed by painting, so that can be helpful.

The other place ––– and it’s very weird, but I love writing on the train. I love just having my iPhone with me and in my notepad I have just dozens and dozens of poems that I’ve started, and there’s something about being in the middle of all of the chaos and tuning it out. And ideas come to me on the train, and I teach all around the city so I’m constantly bouncing around on different trains and it’s been interesting that it’s been part of my practice."


Self Portrait as a Still Life.

Liz Adams

I'll be the robin's-egg blue

pitcher in my mother's pantry ––

Where I would search for silver

and linens on fine Sundays.

Or, given the choice, a pink peony

flush with a whorl of nowness.

I'll speak to you boldly with my hues:

titanium white, quinacridone rose.

One hundred petals of a story ––

each ruffled and veined,

Leading to my egg-yolk

center of golden occasions.

Cup me in your hands, bury

your face in my perfumed core

Where the colors congregate

before fading at the edges.

Set me in the blue pitcher,

let the right light catch.


© 2017-2020 by Curlew Quarterly. 

Curlew Quarterly - 333 Hudson Street, Suite 303, New York, NY 10013 - 212-804-8655 -