These three works of visual art and poetry emerged from our professional experience as librarians and poets at The University of Arizona Poetry Center, a special collection of contemporary poetry housed in a public university. Frequently described as a “living archive,” the Poetry Center’s library houses both open stacks designed for browsing and closed stacks containing archival collections related to contemporary poetry. Our collections, building, and everyday work, as seen through the alternate lens of our identities as writers and artists, comprise the subjects of our collaborative assemblages. We began by generating a list of questions that became the titles of the three pieces. Based on our questions, we each wrote a poem that incorporated fragments of language found on the spines of books and in archival documents. Finally, we rendered the poems as visual assemblages incorporating found objects, photographs of public and hidden spaces in our building, and repurposed archival and office materials. The pieces progressed via a series of exchanges, so that each assemblage includes work by every collaborator. Specific authorship is relinquished in favor of collective achievement, reflecting the collaborative and sometimes hidden nature of the librarian’s and archivist’s work.
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Burk, Wendy; Johnson, Julie Swarstad; and Kortemeier, Sarah
disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory- University of Kentucky Libraries: Vol. 27, Article 8.
Available at: https://uknowledge.uky.edu/disclosure/vol27/iss1/8