Throw a curve ball, shake the snow globe, rattle the cage... and see what happens. The Switcheroo is an exciting prospect for us as editors, because there's an element of thrill: what if we don't get any submissions? what if we don't get any good submissions? what will writers respond to?
Kate Baird's art, "Bird's Eye," chosen by the Switcheroo curator Lynn Stanley from work submitted by Broadsided artists, is the polar opposite of the work chosen for our last Switcheroo. Her fragmented, fractal landscape (or eye-scape?) was an invitation that writers responded to in a wide variety of ways. The quality and range of submissions were incredible: poems and stories about un-iced rivers within frozen seas, the patchwork seen from 30,000 feet, the nature of vision, the voices of birds, and the nature of art itself. The breadth of styles, voices, and approaches, too, were exciting.
"Murmuration," the poem by Amanda Warren we selected for this Switcheroo, caught us for both its narrative drama and for its emotional crazing. There's a sense, in the poem, of memory's faultlines and the traceable effects of disturbing experiences. These small fissures echo the geometric shapes of Baird's art. It's as if Warren lent story to the pulse of Baird's work—and that kind of nearly-tangential yet utterly visceral conversation between art and story is what drives Broadsided.
There is, at the heart of Broadsided, an appreciation for serendipity. We don't know where the Vectors are posting or how the broadsides are received on the street. When we send a poem out to the Broadsided artists, we don't know who will respond and we don't know what form that response will take. In a sense, Broadsided is an act of faith: that the work will find its audience and that the literature and art will join together in a surprising and unforeseen amplification of one another. Baird's piece and Warren's poem epitomize this glad surprise.
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.We can't wait to see what happens at the next Switcheroo.
Liz Bradfield and Mark Temelko
Notes on Process
We invited all Broadsided artists to submit up to three pieces of work. Lynn Stanley reviewed the submissions, choosing the piece below, "bird's eye" (mixed media on paper, 30" x 22") created by Kate Baird.
Of the curatorial process, Stanley said:
The theory is that with practice comes ease. If so, it's going to take a lot more practice at being the judge and jury of any body of creative work, before the task feels like a natural activity to me.
In the case of Broadsided's Switcheroo, the hope is that by choosing a particular work of art, one's actions create something to catch a poem in, like lopping off the limbs of a tree to craft a ship's mast: the armature for a sail. So, this is how I comfort myself—with a seafaring metaphor. This and knowing that no dream of salvation will be dashed as a result of my choices.
The work I've settled on was chosen for its ability to hold my gaze. My initial reaction was to what felt like the chaos of line and color and the composition's familiarity to loopy line drawings from childhood. With time I found myself focusing into it, the way one might look at landscape from a plane: finding pattern and meaning, then allowing myself to make idiosyncratic associations. It was with some satisfaction that the title "Bird's Eye" revealed itself when I pulled it from the email in which it was sent to me.
Thanks again for the opportunity to be a part of this process and to all the artists who submitted their work. I'll look forward to reading new poems.
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.