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Visual Verse is an online anthology of art and writing, founded by Kristen Harrison at The Curved House in collaboration with designer Pete Lewis and writer/editor Preti Taneja. The website is designed to inspire and delight writers of all stages by providing arresting, surprising and elegant images and inviting writers to respond with a piece of short fiction, non-fiction or poetry. Writers are challenged to write just 50-500 words, within an hour, and the results appear online. The rules are simple – look, observe and then write, without overthinking.
Since the launch in November 2013 (at The Writing Platform writers’ conference) we have averaged 50 published submissions per month and this is growing each month. We have also facilitated collaborations beyond our site that give writers the opportunity to connect with a wider readership. The Irish Artist Mark Garry used some of the writing from his December issue in his Winter Light project at the Model Gallery in Sligo. And Visual Verse is featured in the forthcoming issue of Berlin’s SAND literary journal showcasing the work of three Visual Verse contributors.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea itself is not new; artists and writers have been collaborating for as long as art and words have existed. From early illuminated manuscripts, to 20th century artists books by artists such as Joan Miro, to more recent projects like the Memory Palace exhibition at the V&A, collaborations between writers and artists have long bought profound and inspiring results. But we have yet to see a really good example of how these collaborations might work on a digital platform, and how that platform might interweave with print and traditional publishing, so that inspired us. In this sense, Visual Verse can be seen as a truly contemporary, multi-authored mulit-artist’s book.
Will the writing be moderated?
Contributions will be read by the editor before they go live. The editor will correct spelling and punctuation where appropriate and will ensure that submissions do not contain inappropriate or offensive material. If they do, they will be rejected, otherwise the submission will be published to the live website.
What are the copyright issues?
Writers are not paid for their contributions to Visual Verse. Copyright lies with them in all cases. In the event that we produce books from the website contributions, the correct permissions will be sought.
Who is funding Visual Verse?
The project is currently funded by The Curved House and has only been made possible with the support of Pete Lewis who designed the beautiful website and Preti Taneja who is responsible for editorial. Kristen, Pete and Preti will continue to run the site voluntarily, for the love of creating a space where art and words can meet, but we hope to attract a sponsor or publishing partner who can support the work we’d like to do in expanding Visual Verse beyond the website. This includes creating interactive exhibitions at galleries and festivals and producing a series of notebooks for writers.
Who is supporting Visual Verse?
We are proud to be supported by some incredible patrons: writers Andrew Motion, Ali Smith, Bernadine Evaristo and Cathy Galvin, photographer Marc Schlossman and visual artist Mark Garry.
Write for us
Visit the Visual Verse website to submit your work via the submissions form. The work must be new and written in response to the image currently displayed on the site. A new image is uploaded on the first of each month.