A broadside is a single sheet of paper with printed text that is designed to be displayed like a poster. Originally designed for the quick dissemination of information, broadsides were posted in public places and distributed as addenda to newspapers; the Declaration of Independence had its first widespread distribution in broadside form. Recently, however, the broadside has evolved in both form and intention: the term now frequently refers to single-sheet presentations of individual poems, and the modern poetry broadside is made from a variety of materials, from the simple and inexpensive (such as cardstock and computer paper) to the luxurious and delicate (such as vellum and handmade papers). Poetry broadsides, therefore, have a remarkable artistic range. The broadside form allows for the re-imagining of text on the page: a poem can be scored differently on a broadside than it might be in a book, and the visual design of a broadside highlights and illuminates the text in unique and frequently surprising ways. Poetry broadsides are generally rare from their first printing, as they are often issued in limited editions of 100 or fewer. The Poetry Center’s collection includes hundreds of broadsides; the works in this exhibit represent some highlights from that collection.
This exhibit, curated by Sarah Kortemeier, was originally presented in the Jeremy Ingalls Gallery of the University of Arizona Poetry Center from June 1 to August 10, 2011.