Marc Schlossman

Visual Verse @ Litro Magazine

Visual Verse is a terrific website that invites writers to submit a piece in response to an image – written in one hour, maximum 500 words. The VV editors, Kristen Harrison of and Preti Taneja asked me to contribute an image from my Extinction series, a tortoise shell labelled ‘extinct’, a specimen in the collection of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, as their inaugural image: Vol. 1, Chapter 1. I’ve worked and – shall we say – conspired creatively with Kristen for a long time. Anything she makes or is into – it’s going to be good, I’m in…

However, I was not prepared for the volume of amazing writing that resulted and how it made me reassess the power of an image and the responses it can inspire. I was reminded that what someone sees in the first moment they encounter an image and what that means to them can lead to an infinite range of responses – 42 of them are in Vol. 1, Chapter 1. The poet Andrew Motion contributed the lead piece and it went from there:

Andrew also contributed the lead piece to my next contribution, a very different image:

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