32 Poets, 16 Locations, 4 Months
32 poets, 32 Haiku, 16 locations, 16 weeks in Santa Fe, Summer 2011. Poems selected by Joan Logghe, poet laureate of Santa Fe.
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Axle Contemporary is a collaboration, a mobile gallery of contemporary art, and a forum to promote and distribute creative projects by artists of many disciplines and all levels of experience.
Last spring, Matthew, while driving his son to school, noticed a forlorn and unused sign leaning against a shed in rural Pojoaque, New Mexico. Over the course of several weeks of repeated sightings, this rusty, dented and faded remnant of another time, transformed into a shining beacon of creative energy.
Matthew brought the kernel of an idea to Jerry and together we created the Axle Contemporary Haiku Roadsign Project. Soon we issued a statewide call for Haiku and invited Santa Fe’s Poet Laureate Joan Logghe to jury the entries: 32 poems, 16 weeks, 16 locations.
With this book we demonstrate how a humble, manufactured metal and plastic portable billboard came to travel great distances, through the streets of Santa Fe and through the reaches of people’s imaginations.
Haiku printed on paper, collected in a book, evoke the rich experience that can be gained from taking notice of our environment. A poem broadcast on a roadside sign is distinctly different. Reading a haiku while hurtling through space in a car or on a bicycle, while feeling, hearing, and smelling the road, might be more shocking, unexpected, immediate and reverberating. We hope that the joy of discovery inherent in the Haiku Roadsign Project continues to abide in this book.
Art can happen anywhere: In galleries and museums, online, in the forest, or on the street. Given the warm embrace of our community towards our playful and idiosyncratic gallery, our minds are now attuned and our eyes open to encourage and support new artists and new artforms. We hope that the energy we have found in this project will inspire others and we encourage all to dive deep into the imagination and create innovative projects to encourage and distribute art and poetry everywhere.
-Jerry Wellman and Matthew Chase-Daniel, Axle Contemporary, 2011