This is our 10th Switcheroo, and the first time we've posted two images for writers to respond to. Oh, it was HARD to choose from the entries!
If we had but world enough and time, we might do a switcheroo every other month: one month have writers respond to art, the next have artists respond to poems. The dynamic, the back-and-forth, the surprising reverberations that are created as words and image bounce against each other are exciting, inspiring, and always startling.
Both Gabe's and Kara's images inspired a wealth of good writing and, we are happy to say, entries were fairly evenly divided between the two artists. Both inspired. And inspired widely.
Kara Searcy's apocalyptic image with its Biblical title took writers toward war, toward intimacy, toward airlines and armies and desire, desire, desire. Even toward the oddity of the octopus. In the end, Catherine R. Cryan's poem of pleading and dream, of toxins and nostalgia, her slim plea, seemed to speak for and with the image.
The lines in Gabriel Travis's image inspired many writers, as did the voice of the raven itself/himself. Raven as trickster, raven as corvid, raven as epitome of the soul, raven as observer of our messed-up world, raven as hold-out in our increasingly technological world—all had their voice.
In the end, what the Swticcheroo reveals is the deep communion between art and word, the surprising directions of inspiration, the vitality of people in the world responding. We are grateful.
Elizabeth Bradfield, Sean Hill, and Alexandra Teague
Notes on Process
All Broadsided artists were invited to submit up to three pieces of work for the Switcheroo. We then asked Cheryl Gross, Broadsided artist and the April, 2012 Switcheroo artist, to review the submissions, choosing one that he thought would be open to literary response and would work in the Broadsided format. She selected pieces by Kara Searcy and Gabriel Travis.
Of her decision, Gross had this to say:
I feel that the pieces are contemporary and not afraid to express emotion. So much of art that is coupled with writing, poetry, etc., is some what safe. These two pieces are very different and "deep" for lack of a better word. They are illustrations rather than fine art pieces that were coupled with text, that seem to go well together. They are telling a story and assisting an already existing idea, rather than randomly put together. They are not cute, they are disturbingly beautiful and straight to the point, (cut to the chase so to speak.) They evoke emotion and are not afraid to convey a point of view, thus giving the viewer a deeper experience. After being led in this direction, the viewer then has the choice of continuing to read the poem, or not. This makes for some very powerful art.