The reception to Broadsided's first Switcheroo was wonderful, with many poets and prose writers sending their submissions and responses. Each entry offered its own joys; each poem or story chose a slightly different platform to leap from. In the end, Anna Mueller's "Dishes" surprised and delighted us, capturing the deep feeling of Anya Ermak-Bower's art in a completely unexpected way.
Timing is a funny thing. Today, the day before this Broadsided Switcheroo was to go live, we opened the March/April issue of The Writer's Chronicle to see an article by Lauren Rusk titled "The Possibilities and Perils of Writing Poems about Visual Art." In it, she talks about poems that successfully leap from visual art into a conversation all their own, leaping toward verse that enlarges rather than recapitulates its inspiration.
For us, The Switcheroo was a fascinating glimpse into the convergence of visual and literary art. What does a triptych of a lone sledder on a harsh mountain have to do with a mother washing dishes? We hope you'll feel the truth of the relationship when you download the broadside.
As with every Broadsided publication, you can read what the artist and author thought of the whole process in our Collaborators' Q&A.
Our thanks to out to all writers who sent in their creative responses, and we hope to do more Switcheroos in the future.
Liz Bradfield and Mark Temelko
Notes on Process
All Broadsided artists were invited to submit up to three pieces of work. We then asked an outside judge, Lynn Stanley, to review the submissions, choosing one that she thought would be open to literary response and would work in the Broadsided format.
She chose the image below, "Whatever it Takes to See the Sunrise" (colored pencil and ink on tinted paper; 8" x 10"), by artist Anya Ermak-Bower.
Of the process, Stanley said:
The primary goal was to choose work that would engage poets and become a broadside. In terms of personal aesthetics my first inclination was towards the less representational pieces and a number of submitted works contained emotional ambiguities that could serve as interesting points of departure.
In the process of making a final choice, however, I realized that I've become interested in when and how I resist works of art—and then to examine that position. My initial response to the drawing series was to dismiss it—the drawings have a slightly cartoonish quality and the narrative elements are obvious.
As I revisited the work I came to appreciate what I identify as a combination of wistfulness and earnestness. The series—its color palette and flat, simplified forms—reminds me of Japanese woodblock prints. I became attracted to what I'd characterize as emotional transparency or the "heart" of the work. I'm particularly drawn to the image on the far left and the feeling of pushing through.
Thank-you for the opportunity to participate in a visual-verbal dialogue and to all the artists who submitted work.
Lynn Stanley is an artist and a writer. She attended the School of Visual Arts and Queens College, where her focus was in painting. In 1997 she received her BA in studio Art at Smith College as an Ada Comstock Scholar, where she produced letter press books, broadsides, and non-conventional book forms. Stanley was a Colby Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2000. She has taught creative writing at the University of Michigan and Cape Cod Community College.
As the Curator of Education at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM), her current position, Lynn has facilitated numerous creative writing sessions, in relation to works of art, for children and adults. She is a grant recipient for poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Provincetown Cultural Council. A chapbook of her poetry, Gravity Claims Us, is available from Folly Cover Press. Her visual work is represented at the School House Galleries in Provincetown, MA. Examples of her poetry and artwork can be seen at www.lynn-stanley.com.