“There’s something quite beautiful in seeing how a poem can be made to move, not just through time as you’re reading it, but also visually across the page.”— Ana Maria Caballero
About Ana Maria Caballero
Welcome to episode 8 of Pixels & Paint. Today’s guest is Ana Maria Caballero, a first-generation Colombian-American poet and artist, recognized for both her writing and her role as a trailblazer of crypto poetry
In her work, Ana Maria challenges the romanticized concept of motherhood and confronts conventional beliefs that package female sacrifice as a virtue. Her poems, described as moments of private rebellion made public, navigate both the intellectual and the everyday to name what’s left unsaid in the all-important space of home.
Ana Maria has garnered multiple accolades for her work. She has been honored with the Beverly International Prize, the Steel Toe Books Poetry Prize, and a Sevens Foundation Grant, among others. Her first book of poetry, Entre domingo y domingo, which documents her twenties in Bogotá, received Colombia’s prestigious José Manuel Arango National Poetry Prize and was the second-place winner of the nationwide Ediciones Embajales Prize.
Her nonfiction manuscript A Petit Mal, an experimental text documenting her family’s collision with disease, was awarded the Beverly Prize and was a finalist for five other literary prizes. Ana Maria is a leading voice in the crypto poetry space, where her works such as “Kylo Ren + the Divine Feminine”, a 24-part poem that updates autonomously every hour in a 24-hour cycle, have been widely appreciated.
She’s also published a digital book through Alexandria Press titled “Tryst”, a collection of three poetic short stories, and she is the co-founder of The VERSEverse, a poetry NFT gallery, which she cofounded alongside Sasha Stiles and Kalen Iwamoto.
In the course of their conversation, Brady Walker and Ana Maria Caballero discuss her creative process and her journey into the digital space. Caballero discusses how she separates her creative phases, distinguishing between intense periods of writing and subsequent moments of editing and formatting for digital spaces. She discusses her creative process, including the use of physical notebooks for initial drafts, and the evolution of these drafts through multiple iterations.
She touches on the importance of structure and form, mentioning her enjoyment of subtle rhyme and the use of visual form within a page to subtly guide or surprise the reader. She also details her work with AI to generate visuals to accompany her poetry, describing her efforts to recreate images representative of Madrid in the 1890s for a poem about the enchantment of newness and modernity.
Caballero also mentions her reluctance to use AI for her poetry creation, preferring traditional pen-to-paper methods, and expresses the importance of patience and commitment when entering the Web3 space. She also highlights the potential of the digital space for making meaningful connections and suggests resources, like the articles by Meg DeMatteo, for those interested in the literary Web3.
Towards the end of the conversation, she encourages young poets to trust their voices and remain confident in their unique writing styles. Caballero also emphasizes the importance of supporting poets by buying their books, even in a digital age.
The article “Poetry Equals Art: A Brief Guide” inspired by this conversation, can be read here.
People, Places, & Things Mentioned
- David Shrigley
- Cecilia Vicuña
- Ed Ruscha
- Cy Twombly
- John Baldessari
- Pierre Gervois
- Christopher Wool
- William Blake
- Charlotte Kent
- Virginia Woolf
- Alicia Ostricker
- Keith Grossman
- Maya Dresin
- Kevin Abosch
- Anika Meier
- Herbert Franke
- Powerhouse Books
- Avant Gallery
- Metamorphose Gallery
- Alexandria Labs
- Diario ABC (Spain’s top national newspaper)
- Poems in the Public Domain by Ana Maria Caballero and Hieroglyphica
- La Petit Mal by Ana Maria Caballero
- The Wish by Ana Maria Caballero
- Playboy collection on The Art of Gender and Sexuality
- Tryst by Ana Maria Caballero
- From Sunday to Sunday (Entre Domingo y Domingo) by Ana Maria Caballero
- Comment Out by Kevin Abosch
- POME by Ana Maria Caballero
- Megan DeMatteo’s writing on literary web3