Marlo Koch is an artist writing texts and a writer making art. In February 2019 she was a writer-in-residence at the Wassaic Project in Upstate New York, and has recently performed her poetry at Gallery 400, North Pole Exhibitions, and Chicago Artists Coalition. She received her MFA in Studio Art from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2018.  


My writing is about ricocheting between apathy and enthusiasm. A critique of capitalism and “wellness” culture, a playing with gender, and affective imagery make up the content. Just as I ask myself “what would it be like to have health insurance I could actually take advantage of?” I also ask myself “what would it be like to be a snake slithering in the mud of a hot river?” 

Recently I’ve been wondering about the categorical nature of text; how poetry so easily flips between fiction and fact, what rules exist for detecting a text’s purpose, and how a text is defined by its form. After recently completing my MFA, PDF’s are on my mind a lot. I think it’s fun to trick my reader by presenting one reality altering it. PDF’s are one way I have done this. Footnotes are in my work to complicate or confuse meaning, not illuminate it. 

While reading is the root of my process, so is examining the physicality of text. How a text sits on a page, takes up space, uses punctuation, and interacts with images inform my work. The internet is really distracting to me but I am often inspired to write after looking at it because of the mirage of bizarre image-text pairings. I arrange my words and sentences the way a collage artist might arrange clippings. I begin with long jumbled lists of images and objects and colors, and from there I parse down and find a specific voice for each poem.