Friday, October 8, 2010

[uptoFIFTEENonline-listservs] in the picture

I find lists to be a powerful way of describing and defining. When I placed a personal ad in the Village Voice ohsomany years ago, it consisted of a list of items in my possession, among them "103 earrings, garlic press, Swiss Army knife, X tapes." That last got me plenty of suggestive letters from folks who misunderstood thoroughly.

I've realized that I'm now receiving daily digests from no fewer than 15 different listservs; taken together they describe and define me pretty thoroughly. The most recent addition is the Maryland Writers' Association, where I found an announcement about this project:

Welcome to SPARK!

Open to writers, musicians, and visual artists of all kinds,
SPARK is a participatory creativity event that takes place four times each year.

The project’s rules are simple: Writers send their partners a story or poem; artists send an image of their painting, photograph, or sculpture; and musicians and video artists send either a file or a link to their work on another website. Then, over the 10-day project period, each person uses their partner’s piece as a jumping off point for new work of their own.

This site is a work in progress, containing inspiration and response pieces from SPARK’s 2010 rounds. You can view those pieces by clicking “See the work,” above. You can also see work from SPARK’s first six rounds here.

SPARK Rounds take place in February, May, August, and October. If you’d like to join us, send us a note!

I've already registered to participate in SPARK 10 later this month, because I had so much fun doing something similar before. I've written some poems to go with paintings by my friend Elyse Harrison, a local artist who runs a studio/gallery, and participated in an event a few years ago where Elyse invited artists and writers to collaborate and then put up a show of their work. I wrote a poem to go with a provocative landscape photograph that I had intended to post here, but alas, I can't find it.

So instead I'll put up this week's "15 Words or (ahem) Fewer" poem, a weekly opportunity provided by the endlessly energetic and inspiring Laura Purdie Salas. This week she posted the above, and in response I posted the following.


it's the elbows
that tell the story
of the next twenty-four years
of togetherness

Heidi Mordhorst

While a list, like a column of tiny buttons, might describe and define, sometimes it's what is not quite in the picture that tells the real story.

Laura and Heidi at the ALA Poetry Blast 2010

Check out the list of Poetry Friday posts at Carol's Corner!


  1. I am dying to know about those elbows. And checking my own too, wondering about their stories. It's such fun to bump into you here online, everywhere...last week I taught a class in Binghamton, and the teachers were holding PUMPKIN BUTTERFLY and talking together, enjoying your images and words. You should know that. Are you going to NCTE this year? Off to SPARK! Thank you for the tip! A.

  2. Thank you for pointing out SPARK, Heidi. I wrote about it once myself, but I haven't done it yet. I should probably just jump in!

    Do you read all the daily digests from all the listservs? I find it pretty overwhelming, after a while.

  3. Ha! I knew it was you leaving that anon message at Laura's!! You clever girl you. Got me coming directly here to check. ;) You two are gorgeous and glowing in the poetic light.

    Love that elbow poem. You nailed it!

  4. "While a list, like a column of tiny buttons, might describe and define, sometimes it's what is not quite in the picture that tells the real story."

    That's my favorite part of your post! (The elbows are great, too, but I like the list as a column of tiny buttons...)


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!