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.
Such strange, varied, and wild things grew in the minds of writers responding to Michele L'Heureux's painting, "Daisy's Garden." The flowers became balls of yarn or strange fruit, the white scrawl inner thought or literary allusions, the vines DNA strands or an umbillicus, and the snakeskin over the figure's body hissed serpent to many.
In a painting so tangled and layered, it might not be suprising that the texture of language in many submissions was equally foregrounded. Sounds bounced off of sounds, and a contemplation of the wildness of words was a part of responses.
As editors, we were blown away. Bowled over. Astounded by bounty.
Our final decision rested on Markie Babbott's "Beginning Moon." The poem as a response to Gertrude Stein's unfixity and to the lush organic world of Michele L'Heureux's work thrilled us, as did the poem's ability to both sing and mean—to honor song and yet not lose story or significance in that texture. We also were excited to see a literary exploration of menarche that was not full of horror or "grodiness," but that instead suggested the power and danger of that time in a young woman's life. Doesn't blood smell of copper and thus copperhead? Isn't the truth as vulnerable and brave as a bare-footed walker in a thorny garden?
There were three other submissions that we felt deserved special recognition for their response to and interaction with Michele L'Heuruex's work. We have listed them here as finalists. Our thanks go out to all who submitted work to this Switcheroo and to Maura Cunningham, who chose the art that we presented. Read below for her curatorial statement. We look forward to seeing what art and literature come into conversation in our next Switcheroo.
As with every Broadsided publication, you can read what the artist and author thought of the whole process in our Collaborators' Q&A.
Elizabeth Bradfield, Sean Hill, and Alexandra Teague
"Stalk," by Elizabeth Costello
"The Whole Wild World Around Some Day" by Laura Lee Washburn
"Portrait of a Woman at the End of Spring" by Danielle Jones-Pruett
Notes on Process
All Broadsided artists were invited to submit up to three pieces of work for the Switcheroo. We then asked Maura Cunningham the April, 2014 Switcheroo artist, to review the submissions, choosing one that she thought would be open to literary response and would work in the Broadsided format.
Of her decision, Cunningham had this to say:
It was very difficult to choose a work of art as each of the pieces submitted had its own clear and unique voice. I settled on the one that most spoke to my sensibilities and sensitivities. Daisy's Garden by Michele L'Heureux speaks to me of how we travel through our interior and exterior worlds. The nuance of each exterior space we occupy often mirrors and allows for certain parts of our interior landscape to be discovered and contemplated. This piece evokes so many things for me. The various layers of clarity, and sharpness, movement and stillness, combined with the blurry and suggested, feel ripe for poetic exploration.
The techniques applied in this piece evoke qualities of experience. Sometimes we cycle in certain places. Sometimes we get stuck. Other times we notice, ponder and delight in the intricacies. Some things we move through without ever having truly seen them; but for recollecting them as memory. Iím hoping the poets of Broadsided are as inspired by this piece as I am, and find it the perfect terrain for poetic response.