from the introduction by Joanna Beth Tweedy
As a Murphysboro native, I was delighted to learn about the “Weekend in Murphysboro” project. I presently live in Springfield, Illinois, but was in Murphysboro the weekend the project took place and saw how excited the town was to welcome the students and the project into the community.
Watching the students at work with the mentors was a highlight As an instructor, I appreciated immensely the cogent immersion experience available to the students through the “Weekend” project. But as I listened to the students’ and mentors’ conversations, it was apparent that the immersion offered a tremendous and unusual opportunity that would remain not only a highlight but also an invaluable experience throughout the students’ future careers.
The capacity to imbue the artistic landscape as subject is a terrific talent. The ability to do so in a manner that captures the human landscape, permeated with the radiant dignity of the other as subject, is an exacting grace. It happens in moments of fugitive embrace – moments that occur between reader and writer, viewer and artist – moments sometimes unexpected and often ephemeral, of shared and keen understanding, moments that can happen across time, culture, and distance, coalescing these into a distillate spark of acute discernment. In these evanescent moments, object arrives at subject.
Receiver and artist are joined in manduction, constructs converge, humanistic and spiritual pursuits become one another, each drawing the other into a wider world. It is a consummate moment.
It is the syntax of hope.
And it is precisely this that the students of the “Weekend in Murphysboro” project have captured over and again.
Joanna Beth Tweedy is a poet, novelist, educator, and the founding editor and host of Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program.
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