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#PoetrySnapshot August Instagram Challenge

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 #PoetrySnapshot August Instagram ChallengeCarolyn 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. 


August 2013: Snapshot = #PoetrySnapshot

You’d catch yourself

in a certain light, wrapped in the corner
canting your own name, a pale hero
in a slim chronicle of madness.

Those lines come from Heather Altfeld’s poem “Snapshot,” printed in full below, our August mobile photography challenge. What does it look like to you? We want to see it.

Challenge Rules

From August 1 – August 31 we challenge you to respond to “Snapshot” how ever you see fit. Any element of the poem is up for interpretation. Here are the particulars:

Instagram: #PoetrySnapshot


How it Works:

1.Post a photo to Instagram with #PoetrySnapshot

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 #PoetrySnapshot in order to be considered.

5. Photos must be posted between August 1 and August 31, 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.




You began photographing your fugue,
and losing the negatives in apartments
to which you had no key,

and no recollection of visiting, a host of toilets
and sinks and coffeemakers, catalogued in a city
you seemed to have invented. You’d catch yourself

in a certain light, wrapped in the corner
canting your own name, a pale hero
in a slim chronicle of madness. Then

on the streetcorner, stuttering off the curb,
blind hands outstretched, colloided
on a plate you misplaced in the Bowery.

Sometimes you were dreaming
while the shutter clicked its witness
and you hoped if you looked long enough

into the frame you could remember
what it was you were dreaming of—
melancholy, gin, the pit stop

between Gallup and the state line,
the way light cycloned in
when the engine killed and her hair

caught up to her face in its last dark swirl—
Instead, you were disappearing over and over
and forgetting, over and over,

squinting into the aperture with your milkiest eye.


“Snapshot” appears in our Spring/Summer 2013Issue. Subscribe today!