Spiral Orb Seven:

Collaborative Curation: Marks, Lines, and Lineage


When Eric Magrane invited me to guest-edit Spiral Orb Seven, I knew that I wanted to produce a collaboratively curated issue. I invited a group of writers whose work I admired to contribute to the issue, and I asked each of them to invite another writer as a contributor.


I had been thinking about alternative ways of generating networks, some physical and some digital. For example: a paper literary journal mailed to a randomly selected group of writers; the recipients would be invited to contribute to the second issue and, by their own invitation, determine the mailing list and contributors for the third issue; and so on. Or a wiki housing an evolving poem, whose lines would be added to, edited, or deleted by a different writer each week, perhaps never archived. I like the idea of art that grows and changes thanks to a changing group of creators.


In the case of Spiral Orb Seven, I felt that the issue would be stronger if it depended on a distributed curatorial process. More broadly, the network created in this issue, and by this issue, does not have a single center.


The theme of Spiral Orb Seven is "Marks, Lines, and Lineage." Contributors did not need to make this theme central to their work, but I asked them to include one of the words mark, line, or lineage (or any variation on one of the words) within their writing. I hoped that this repetition would create reference points amongst the poems and within the composted 'entry poem.' Eric Magrane describes Spiral Orb as "an experiment in juxtaposition, interrelationships, and intertextuality." I think of Spiral Orb Seven as representing a system of non-linear lineage.


Thank you for reading this issue of Spiral Orb.


—Wendy Burk, Guest Editor, Spiral Orb Seven


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