Joanna Rawson's collection of poems unrest is one of four books of poetry nominated for this year's Minnesota Book Awards. unrest is billed as a series of "restless meditations on American life, political borders, lawlessness, parenthood, and the spaces where the natural world and human turmoil come into conflict." You may have read Rawson's work, either as a poet or a journalist, in City Pages or Utne Reader. Rawson also works as a Master Gardener in Northfield, Minnesota.
I can't seduce these raucous birds.
Or sneak up on a willow while they riot there.
Look--even my shadow's a suspect in this dark.
I can't approach without startling from them
an insurgent cursing that gusts and stutters down the trunk.
The weeping limbs ripple in alert as if they've been started by wind
that steals through thistle toward their camp.
I can't manage to net them in my grip.
I can't seem to accomplish any sort of government,
any hold over these unruly crows who nest in rags
and scream at the blowback their quarrelsome cries.
Still, they allow me to stay in the vicinity--
many nights, right here among them, as they activate the dust
and carry on disturbing the perilous air.
Even in their mercy, I believe they understand
my wanting to end their song.
-- "Wind Camp" by Joanna Rawson, as published in her collection of poems unrest. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher, Graywolf Press.
The folks at the MIA anticipated they'd attract more entries for the 2010 Foot in the Door show than the 1,700 they received for the last Foot in the Door in 2000. However their guestimate of 3,000 was way low.
By the time the submission period ended at 4.30 on Sunday afternoon in excess of 4,500 artworks had survived the curatorial process (that is they had fit into the one foot cube 'Curator' box shown above,) and been accepted for the show. The on-line video submissions are not included in that number, so clearly the final number could be significantly higher.
The MIA's Ann-Marie Wagner tells me there was a huge press of people on Sunday afternoon, hoping to make the deadline. There were so many people in fact that the line went twice around the second floor rotunda in the MIA's Target wing, down the stairs, twice round the ground floor rotunda, then out the door, across the park, though the atrium of the Third Avenue, and out onto the sidewalk beyond.
The line was so long that at 3pm staff realized they wouldn't be able to fit in any more people by the 4.30 deadline, so they cut off the line.
Chris Atkins of the MAEP program which organizes "Foot in the Door" says by Sunday they were getting about 100 submissions every 45 minutes or so. He says most people had to wait about an hour or 90 minutes in line, and there were some cases of a two hour wait, but he says once people actually got to the head of the line they were usually processed in just a few moments.
When asked how many people were unable to get in, he says he doesn't really know.
Atkins says the job of hanging and displaying the work has already begun as they prepare for the opening of the show on Thursday February 18th.
"We've got them stacked 11 or 12 high on the wall," he says. It sounds as though visitors might want to take a leaf out of the Walker's "Benches and Binoculars" show and bring some opera glasses with them.
There are two galleries set aside for Foot in the Door 2010, but it looks as though it's going to have to spill out into the atrium, even with the plan to assign each piece just one square foot of space.
"I've got some geometry to do with the registration crew to actually see, gridding things out," he says. The pieces will be hung roughly in the order they came in. There will be a system which will allow people to quickly find specific pieces.
While the majority of the submissions came from the Twin Cities, Atkins saw work coming in from all over the state. He mentions pieces from Willmar, Albert Lea, and Grand Marais. "A lot of zip codes from all over the state," he laughs.
Several teachers from schools and colleges around the area brought in multiple works, sometimes 40 or 50 for students in their classes.
All of the entrants were also invited to the opening night party along with family and friends, so it's likely to be packed, and probably one of the biggest ever openings in MIA history.
"Yeah, it'll definitely be up there," says Atkins. "It's hard for us to anticipate exactly how many, but we'll do everything we can to make sure people can come in, they get into the galleries, and have a good time that night."
The show is scheduled to run through June 13th, a total of about 15 weeks. Atkins says he's excited about how it's all coming together.
"It's going to be a lot more work over the next 10 days," he says, "But it's going to be a great show on the 18th."