Posts By: Rachel Lyon

Collaborations: Art and Prose

“Tubs o’ Fun”

Recently I’ve been really into the work of Paul Madonna, an artist whose series of drawings and prints, ‘All Over Coffee,’ has incorporated short, stunning fiction and nonfiction by a number of writers I happen to love.

It’s got me thinking about collaboration. “[Each writer and I] make at least two pieces,” Madonna writes in his statement. “One where I make an image then present it to them to write for, the second where they write a story and I respond with a drawing. …The relationship between text and image is not meant to be literal, and so I asked that the writers think about the images as visual metaphors rather than direct illustrations.” The result? The narrative in each piece of writing is given a visual space to live that changes its context, elicits a different kind of feeling from the reader than it would on its own; meanwhile, each image becomes more complex too, as the site of a thought or memory.

In working on assembling IR’s winter issue, we’ve looked over a number of artists’ work. Although none of what we’ve seen has contained words within the actual image, the juxtaposition of visual art beside the poems and stories we publish inevitably gives both the image and the writing beside it new meaning. It’s an inspiring thing about literary journals, I think: The whole will always be greater than the sum of its parts because it contains the links between them.

Do you have a favorite collaborative team? Have you ever collaborated with another writer, an artist, a musician?

In Honor of Michael Martone…

We’re all really looking forward to spending some time with Michael Martone this week. In honor of his visit, I’d like to share this interview I did with him for the radio station WFIU, our local NPR affiliate. Michael and I talked for a long time about the new series of books about Indiana and the Midwest that he’s co-editing with another formidable Midwest writer, Susan Neville, for IU Press. Here’s an excerpt from the audio:

The process of leaving a place and re-creating it in a piece of fiction, Martone says, is “probably the big American issue.”

“The big American drama has to do between two worldviews that we hold as Americans—not just Midwesterners or Hoosiers. We really believe in what we call ‘small-town values,’ ‘family values,’ but we also believe in our incredible freedom to move—both spatially and also economically—that we can move up in class and rank. But the truth is, in our country, that mobility won out. And so there’s this kind of lost limb feeling that I think we all have: There is that longing, still, for that other America.”

We’re so pleased to be collaborating with IU Press and Boxcar Books this week in hosting Michael’s visit to Bloomington. We hope those of you who’ll be in the area will drop by the reading at Boxcar, October 5 at 7 pm.

Fiction Contests Here, There, and Everywhere

Here at IR, the deadline for submissions to our 2011 Fiction Prize is fast approaching! Enter your short story before October 15 for a chance to win a whopping $1,000.

Indiana Review isn’t the only prize around, of course. Autumn, ’tis the season for contests. If you’re a fiction writer who’s hungry for more competition, here’s a taste of some of the other options out there, sorted by date.

Here’s to a little healthy competition! May the best stories always win.