UA student poetry contest winners have worked for the first time with graphic designers in the UA School of Art to produce broadsides, which will be on display at the UA Poetry Center.
The broadsides, which are designed to be presented as posters and historically were used for announcements in public spaces and in newspaper publications, will be presented during events slated to begin in May.
The UA Poetry Center and Book Art Collective initiated the collaborative project, which began with the The Hattie Lockett Awards, a poetry contest held in the fall of 2012 and the spring 2013, both involving undergraduate and graduate students.
All told, eight poets and eight graphic designers worked in pairs to create broadsides depicting each others' work.
Graphic artist Kejun Li, a first-year Master of Fine Arts student in the School of Art, worked with Cory Aaland to illustrate his poem, "Country Music is Cool Poem," which Li said urges people to find something more deeply compelling in the genre of country music.
"People think country music is just about love and cowboys; that it is pretty monotonous," said Li, a graphic artist is from Beijing, China, who is now pursuing his second Master of Fine Arts degree at the UA. "But country music is part of a culture, and we want to remind people that it really is a beautiful art.
For the broadside, Li produced deconstructed sketchings of the acoustic guitar, the iconic instrument in the genre of country music, and the large, pinkish dot is meant to mimic a musical note head. Given his background producing commercial graphic design while in China, Li said the collaboration has enabled him to introduce more artistic elements in his work.
Li's parting advice: "Don't look at country music so superficially. Look deeper and find a different perspective."
Jared Pinon (broadsheet image to the right), one of graphic designers, worked with poet Meg Wade and became involved in the collaboration through the Letterpress and Book Art Lab.
"I believe that both the Book Art Collective and the Poetry Center gain an awareness of each other," said Pinon, a UA sophomore in the visual communications program with an emphasis in graphic design. "This also gives both parties a chance to advertise for each other."
Wade, who graduates from the UA next month with her Master in Fine Arts degree in poetry, also enjoyed the process, saying that she and Pinon arrived with comparable ideas.
"It was pretty great to know the artist picked my poem because he wanted to work with it, so going in, we had similar images in mind," said Wade, whose poem is titled "I Blame the Woods and Keep the Body" and written in Southern Gothic Literary Tradition.
"As a poet, my main concern is whether or not someone reading my poem will have a clear image of the nouns I weave together syntactically," Wade said.
"I want to make sure I'm drawing a picture with words. In working on this collaboration with the artist, Jared, it was really amazing to see how he picked up on the theme of touch and how his scene he pictured from the poem was so similar to the scene I pictured writing it," she said. "It's comforting to know when a poem has done it's job."
"I had a great interaction with my poet, which allowed me to get a greater understanding of the poetry," said Boswell, a UA Honors College sophomore studying visual communications.
For Goodrich's free form poem, which is full of imagery and intentional misspellings, Boswell chose a simple black and white design with the poem. He also employed a linoleum cut print, which he carved.
Embedded in the metaphor of the poem and the design is the understanding that we each prescribe our own understanding and meaning to different elements in life and that interpretations can change over time.
"It's the feeling of going back and looking through old trunks and boxes in the attic. The things are the same, but they are different," Boswell said. "I am very happy with how it turned out."
The other students and their collaborators are: poet Hannah Ensor and Amanda Beekhuizen; poet Jessica Jenkins and Nyla Hurley; poet Mika Jankowski and Alice Vinson; poet Ryan Mills and Rob Wilson; and poet Morgan Shnier worked with Nicholas Weidner.
To showcase the work of the University students, the UA Poetry Center is hosting the Hattie Lockett and UA Student Contest Broadside Exhibition, which will be open May 1 through June 1 at the center. The broadsides will be on display in the Jeremy Ingalls Gallery of the Poetry Center. Also, students will read their work May 1 and 2, each day at 7 p.m., at the UA Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St., which maintains a collection of more than 300 broadsides. The events are free and open to the public.
Jared Pinon broadsheet photo credit: Robert Wilso, UA student graphic designer
Contact: Allie Leach, the education programs assistant for the UA Poetry Center at 520-626-0709 or email@example.com.