Fiddlehead Press, 2012
The St. George peninsula in Maine is home to a lively arts community. Each summer, dozens of studios open their doors to visitors for a long weekend. When the tour’s organizer invited me to participate, I proposed re-drawing the usual parameters of such events a little bit. I wanted to do something highly collaborative, something that softens the line between makers and audiences, something that celebrated the verbal as well as the visual. I dreamt of everyone involved in the Open Studio Tour participating in one big project—and thus, this progressive poetry project was born.
Fourteen of the artists let me leave a box and index cards in their studios with simple instructions for visitors: write a word, a phrase, a sentence, a line of verse. It might be inspired by the art of this studio, by the weather or quality of light, by a conversation you had with the artist or someone you met on the tour. Whatever you feel compelled to write. I gathered the cards at the end of the weekend, and then used those words as the DNA for a set of poems, one for each of the art studios.
The book jacket is a tag cloud of all the words the visitors included in their comments: