scene & herd

Switchyard Studios

A peek into a thriving Southeast art-and-lecture cabal.

By Anne Adams April 20, 2011



WHAT: Harp & Altar Party at Switchyard Studios |
WHEN: Saturday, April 9th |
WHERE: an industrial space in Southeast |

Jesse Lichtenstein, co-director of Loggernaut Reading Series.
Zachary Schomburg, author of The Man Suit (Black Ocean 2007), Scary, No Scary (Black Ocean 2009), Little Blind Thing (Poor Claudia 2010), a dvd of poem-films, and the forthcoming Viking (McSweeney’s, 2012). Co-editor of Octopus Books and Octopus Magazine.
Michael Zeiss, contributor to Harp & Altar and consultant for non-profit organizations, spent five years at the American Red Cross working with people affected by the attacks of September 11. His fiction and criticism appear regularly in Harp & Altar.
Keith Newton, founder of Harp & Altar
Alina Estelle Hardin, musician, frequent collaborator with Alela Diane.
Liz Devine, photographer

Founded in 2006, Harp & Altar is a Brooklyn-based online literary magazine focused on innovative and risk-taking literature, publishing poetry and fiction alongside criticism and reviews of writing and art. The Harp & Altar Anthology, featuring a selection of poems and stories from the magazine’s first three years, was published in 2010 by Ellipsis Press, and new issues continue to appear twice a year at .

Switchyard Studios is just industrial enough that its main entrance is a garage door. A sprawling, high-ceilinged space is subdivided into small studios that provide work space for 30-odd artists.

~ Improvised seating included a couple salvaged van benches that still had their seatbelts.
~ Whenever a train traversed the nearby railroad, the noise filled the Studio and drowned out presenters, including the soft-singing Alina Hardin, who continued to play through and then remarked, “That was part of the song.”
~ An actual dogfight broke out between two fairly scary pit bulls in the snack area. The visiting dog was rescued and the resident dog finally contained by its owner, a silent man who materialized from some “upstairs” area sporting a Grateful Dead poncho.

~ “I don’t want to date us too much, but the song on the car radio as we first pulled into Portland was Alanis Morissette’s Ironic.”—Keith Newton, of his pre-New York stint in Portland.
~ “I’ve since folded this poem into an airplane.” —from Zachary Schoenberg’s The Man Suit
~ “The journals of Thoreau are variable in quality and interest.” —Jesse Lichtenstein
~ “At least I’m a distinguished schlub.” —overheard in conversation
~ “Goodbye tension, hello pension!” —printed on a trucker cap of an attendee
~ “A world in constant flux, that repeats and repeats its patterns…” —Keith Newton
~ “Let’s keep quiet now. If we say one word, the trees will die.” —Jesse Lichtenstein

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