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Things I Am Saving to Write (2023) is inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” in which the main character is unexpectedly and irrevocably faced with his imminent mortality.
As a poet, Caballero uses words to generate images within people’s minds. By using the imagery of her verse as the foundation of AI prompting and then crafting a visual narrative from these images, Caballero brings our collective unconscious into direct dialogue with language’s unspoken connotations, calling forth the entanglements of meaning-making.
“Prompting” is deeply tied to poetry–writing workshops offer students prompts to inspire poems–but here a poem generates visual prompts. In her image curation, Caballero evinces the wide array of emotions that stem from words as well as the tensions between the private and the public, between the mythical and the historic, between the figurative and the verbatim that hide within the layers of verse.
Caballero’s exploration of the poetics of prompts distills the materiality of language, inviting us to contemplate our visceral reactions to words and the vastness of our imagination.
This poem was originally published by Salamander.