SWITCHEROO: APRIL, 2010
Turnabout is fair play. The best way we can think to repay the pool of artists who have been creating work for Broadsided is to offer them an opportunity to see how writers might respond to their work.
In a Switcheroo, we invite writers to submit poetry and prose in response to a piece of visual work created by one of the Broasdided artists.
Click below to see former Switcheroos.
"Homeless," published May, 2016 with art by Jennifer Bevill & poetry by Sheila Kelly.
"Rules for Cave Diving," published May, 2016 with art by Jennifer Bevill & poetry by Maureen Seaton.
"Beginning Moon," published May, 2015 with art by Michele L'Heureux & poetry by Markie Babbott.
"Disappear," published May, 2014 with art by Maura Cunningham & poetry by Philip Schaefer.
"Matthew 7," published May, 2013 with art by Kara Searcy & poetry by Catherine R Cryan.
"Mixed Media," published May, 2013 with art by Gabriel Travis & poetry by Laura Lee Washburn.
"Cost Benefit," published April, 2012 with art by Cheryl Gross & poetry by Lisa Allen Ortiz.
"The Company of Weeds," published April, 2011 with art by Ira Joel Haber & poetry by Catherine Swanson.
"Ex Ovo Omnia," published April, 2010 with art by Julie Evanoff & poetry by Jennifer Perrine.
"Interstate," published November, 2009 with art by Kate Baird & poetry by Brian Hendrickson.
"Collective Origins as Ulysses/Uxoria," published April, 2009 with art by Kevin Morrow & poetry by Pamela Johnson Parker.
"Empire," published November, 2008 with art by Helen Beckman Kaplan & poetry by KA Lynch.
"Among Trees (or) The Heart is a Bee Hive," published April, 2008 with art by Elizabeth Terhune & poetry by Cindy St. John.
"Bird's Eye," published November, 2007 with art by Kate Baird & poetry by Amanda Warren.
"Dishes," published April, 2007 with art by Anya Ermak-Bower & prose by Anna Mueller.
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What a rich, wild, dark, enspirited range of responses Julie Evanoff's image inspired in writers. The overall tone was dark, but humor glimmered in many pieces—the mundane world of paper clips set against the mythic figures in the art. Dreams, it should be no surprise, figured in many poems.
In the end, Jennifer Perrine's poem kept haunting us. She not only managed to respond to the emotional tenor of "Turn," but she made yet another link. Her poem is prefaced by an epigraph noting a strange child's death in 1512 which had been ordered by the Catholic church. "From the egg, all," Perrine's title translates. And the "all" of Evanoff's art is what swirls and shifts and haunts. To bring that wildness into contact with the mystery of what every pregnant woman could contain, unknown fully until birth, is a stunning accomplishment.
There was another poem that stood out for us from the submissions. Rachel Contreni Flynn's poem, "Turn," works with the interiority of Evanoff's painting not just with subject, but with the repeated returnings of words and phrases. It's true, the painting could look like the inner landscape of someone disturbed, and Flynn's tonal control, her ability to render a strange inscape without edging into the melodramatic, thrilled us. We publish her poem below as a finalist.
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 go out to all who submitted work to this Switcheroo and to Kevin Morrow, who chose the art that we presented. Read below for Kevin's curatorial statement.
We look forward to seeing what art and literature come into conversation in our next Switcheroo.
Liz Bradfield, Sean Hill, and Mark Temelko
"Turn" by Rachel Contreni Flynn
Not a smile among us, but plenty
of grasping and hiding. I'm tired.
I've begun to see none of it. Office,
bus, three-story-walkup. Small, but
I'd like to mean something, even
something mean, or bright red,
scorching toward dry brush. Quick
trip home, shrug on my robe. In it,
I'm laundry with my smells and stains,
wadded in a corner away from all
that grasping. Hiding. I often call
taxis that come, late at night, to idle
at the curb. Courtyard full of exhaust,
then honking, soon a peeling away.
I've made something happen: a waiting,
full as a strawberry, lush and bursting,
then the flick of passion, anger. I've wasted
time, of course I have, and it tastes
of the darkest chocolate: sweet/bitter.
I stand at the window, of course I do,
then turn, afraid in the thrill of it,
the smallness, such that I bend
to the carpet and extend my hand
as if to comfort a small animal,
injured maybe, that does not exist.
Rachel Contreni Flynn's second full-length collection, Tongue, won the Benjamin Saltman Award and will be published in April 2010 by Red Hen Press. Her chapbook, Haywire, was published by Bright Hill Press in 2009. Her first book, Ice, Mouth, Song, was published in 2005 by Tupelo Press, after winning the Dorset Prize. She was awarded a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2007. Her work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she received an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship in 2003. She is a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program and lives north of Chicago with her husband and two children.
Notes on Process
All Broadsided artists were invited to submit up to three pieces of work for the Switcheroo. We then asked Kevin Morrow, Broadsided artist and the April, 2009 Switcheroo artist, to review the submissions, choosing one that he thought would be open to literary response and would work in the Broadsided format. He selected Julie Evanoff's piece.
Of his decision, Morrow had this to say:
This painting is a wonderful representation of two worlds. Two worlds that are not defined by anything concrete, but rather defined by the contemplative investigation of each viewer. I am always overjoyed when an artist or a particular work has the ability to ask us 'global' or 'big-picture' questions; that perhaps are only answered internally, were one is never wrong or incorrect.
This painting has done a wonderful job of illustrating division, to me personally, the ever perplexing division of earthly and spiritual. A question that will perhaps never be answered with a definition, rather the contemplative investigation, the push/pull in all of us.
Of course something always very important in creating engaging art, is that this painting is aesthetically appealing. The movement of the characters is particularly engaging and because of this, gives the work its wonderful narrative power.
"Turn" by Julie Evanoff, Acrylic on panel, 48" x 24"
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