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The Process & Bios

Notes on "A Fragment, with Mask and Horn"
by Sam Rasnake

Cheryl and I discussed how best to approach this collaborative project - working from an existing piece by one of us or something totally new.  We opted for the new, and it seemed to work best this time to begin with a piece of art.  Cheryl's art - always emotionally charged, not matter the medium - never fails to resonate for me.  Her new piece “Untitled,” a drawing, brought to mind several tracks by Miles Davis ... “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down,” specifically.  I then had a soundtrack for the art, and the words soon followed.

How we met + more collaborative works:
Several years ago, as editor of Blue Fifth Review, I gathered new work from poets for a themed issue: end violence against women. The issue had actually come about because of a photographic project that Cheryl was working on, a project that had nothing to do Blue Fifth. She shared some of the work with me, and they were powerful, impacting me – in terms of their visual force – as much as any artwork I’ve ever viewed – before or since. I encouraged her to send more, and she did. I then decided to build an issue around the images, asking Cheryl to create a larger suite or story with the images. The result was her great contribution to the issue – Eye Music: a Fairy Tale Blues in One Act".

In addition to a general submission of poems to the issue’s theme, I solicited specific writers for new works that focused on Cheryl’s art. The featured poets were Ace Boggess, Marty McConnell, Julie Bonaduce, Gary Whitehead, and Alan Catlin - here’s the link to the issue: Spring Supplement 2002.
Other writers contributing to the issue included Dorianne Laux, Marge Piercy, David Citino, Vicki Hudspith, and James Owens. As an editor, this may be the most important work I’ve ever been associated with. It stays with me. In fact, Cheryl sent me a framed print from the series – my favorite image – “red linen monotone”. It hangs above my writing table.


about the "Eye Music" image series
by Cheryl Dodds

That particular project has been the most powerful project for me as well, and truthfully, had it not been for Sam's encouragement I likely would not have stuck with it. What Sam did with the images was really incredible as well. Later, some of those images were used in a women's art magazine in Ohio in an issue on domestic violence and credit was given to Blue Fifth.



Cheryl Dodds was co-editor/publisher for Urban Spaghetti, a literary arts journal. Her art work has taken the form of mixed media, graphite drawings, photography, painting, woodcuts and multimedia as well as a few conceptual art projects. Over the past 10 or so years she has had the good fortune of sharing muses with Sam Rasnake on a number of projects. More of her work is online at Cheryl's Portfolio Page.

Sam Rasnake’s most recent collections are Lessons in Morphology (GOSS183, 2010) and Inside a Broken Clock (Finishing Line Press, 2010). His works have appeared in Literal Latté, OCHO, Big Muddy, Poem, MiPOesias, Poets/Artists, and Portland Review, as well as the anthologies Best of the Web 2009 (Dzanc Books), BOXCAR Poetry Review Anthology 2, and Dogzplot Flash Fiction 2011. He serves as a judge for the Dorothy Rosenberg Memorial Prize in Lyric Poetry (University of California at Berkeley) and is the editor of Blue Fifth Review, an online journal of poetry, flash, and art.


back to the collaboration


. .BluePrintReview - issue 27 - Synergetic Transformations