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.
Get involved! Become a Vector and put literature & art on the streets. Easy, fun, and cheap... we promise.
Art as portal. Poetry as portal. Color and light and suggestions of form as portals. This year's art, "Another Portal" by Maura Cunningham, inspired a huge range of responses. Farms and fire figured in many of them, as did sunlight and a suggestion of prayer.
The poems, as they should, made us re-examine the art and imagine the process of inspiration for each poet. In the end, two poems sang with Maura's painting most clearly. Philip Schaefer's "Disappear" and Lauren Wolk's "Before Man." Different in their approaches, both dramatize terrible and beautiful forces at work. Both open new visions of the artwork.
In the end, the surprise of Schaefer's transformation and the subtle link to how time works upon us felt most surprising and resonant. Wolk's environmental vision of fire, however, was so moving we wanted to share it here as a second consideration of Cunningham's art.
Her poem is published below.
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 Gabriel Travis and Kara Searcy, who chose the art that we presented. Read below for their curatorial statement. We look forward to seeing what art and literature come into conversation in our next Switcheroo.
Elizabeth Bradfield, Sean Hill, and Alexandra Teague
"Before Man" by Lauren Wolk
sheets of gold fire
scoured the forests,
pared what was dead
and unlocked seeds,
tatting the canopy into lace
and wedding the charred trees
to candles of sunlight
so the world could begin again.
Lauren Wolk is a novelist, poet, visual artist, and Associate Director of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. In 1999, Random House published her first novel, Those Who Favor Fire. Her second novel, Forgiving Billy, was twice nominated for the Pushcart Editor's Book Award and won the Hackney Literary Award. It awaits publication. Her poetry has appeared in Nimrod, Off the Coast, roger, Naugatuck River Review, Oberon, other literary journals, and anthologies.
Notes on Process
All Broadsided artists were invited to submit up to three pieces of work for the Switcheroo. We then asked Gabriel Travis and Kara Searcy, Broadsided artists and the April, 2013 Switcheroo artists, to review the submissions, choosing one that they thought would be open to literary response and would work in the Broadsided format.
Of their decision, Travis and Searcy had this to say:
Out of a very strong group of submissions, we chose "Another Portal," by Maura Cunningham. This abstract, layered and painterly work was on both of our initial top three lists, which indicates that it was compelling right from the first look. Furthermore, this painting seemed to beg for engagement and a response. We were both drawn in by the piece's internal tension—between the surface texture and the depth of the the portal-like shape in the center, between the warm rich colors punctuated by cool blue, between the visual invitation of the bright middle and the barrier-like slash marks in the the lower left. The knifed and brushed layers of paint create the effect of a building's crumbling old facade, and it is hard to leave their warm and homey sense of history, even as your eye is drawn to the cool austerity and pure light of the portal, where there is a possibility of renewal or rebirth. The title, "Another Portal," helps create this extra layer of meaning in this gorgeous painting.
—Gabriel Travis & Kara Jean Searcy