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September Instagram Challenge #KasugaPoem

Over the last few years Poetry Northwest has established a tradition of publishing theme based issues. Last spring saw The Science Issue. The year before saw The
09-kasugaPoemCarolyn Kizer Issue.
Influences, politics, and music were the focus of other themes. Our current issue is The Photography Issue. It’s our largest one ever, clocking in at over 70 pages, and features poems and photos juxtaposed against each other in a way that emphasizes an aspect shared between the two art forms: the act of creating a good poem or a good photo is essentially, to borrow a phrase from Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, “sculpting in time.” They distill singular moments into small sustained emotional eternities that impact readers and viewers over and over again. Their perfectly balanced elements strike upon something that simply wouldn’t exist if everything wasn’t placed just so.


Poetry Northwest + Instagramers Seattle + We Are Juxt

Poetry Northwest approached Instagramers Seattle and We Are Juxt to see how people would respond to poems visually and are working together for the rest of the year on a simple contest: monthly we post a poem and you have thirty days to respond to it visually. At the end of the month we pick our favorite snapshot and the winner receives a year long subscription to Poetry Northwest. 


September 2013: Snapshot = #KasugaPoem

Some deer move redly from out of the shadows,
stretch greenly down their neck vertebrae
between their front hooves
to lip the blades.

Those lines come from Sierra Nelson’s poem “Postcard Photo: Garden of Kasuga Shrine,” printed in full below,our September mobile photography challenge. What does it look like to you? We want to see it.

Challenge Rules

From September 1 – September 30 we challenge you to respond to “Postcard Photo: Garden of Kasuga Shrine” how ever you see fit. Any element of the poem is up for interpretation. Here are the particulars:

Instagram:  #KasugaPoem


How it Works:

1.Post a photo to Instagram with  #KasugaPoem

2. Poetry Northwest (@poetrynw), Instagramers Seattle, & We Are Juxt will pick the winner who will receive a year long subscription (2 issues) to Poetry Northwest.

3. Submit as often as you want.

4. Photos must be posted to Instagram to  #KasugaPoem in order to be considered.

5. Photos must be posted between September 1 and September 30, 2013. Any photos posted after the close of the challenge will not be considered.

6. Poetry Northwest, Instagramers Seattle, & We Are Juxt reserve the right to remove any photo deemed inappropriate for any reason.


Postcard Photo: Garden of Kasuga Shrine

Some deer move redly from out of the shadows,
stretch greenly down their neck vertebrae
between their front hooves
to lip the blades.

Yellow the tops of branches,
top of ornamental gate—
how the hair feels static
rise from the head,
a raised intuition.

What is most desirable?
Photohistorian S. Matsuyama
retouches it all:

where the stamp goes,
the violet,
the line of shrines,
the statue.

Strong studio lights are strung
with pitiless clarity across
the blue palm
of sugar,

which the deer


“Postcard Photo: Garden of Kasuga Shrine” appears in our Spring/Summer 2013 Issue. Subscribe today!