Books by Justine Rowden

Released: Oct. 1, 2005

Rowden pairs 14 paintings from the National Gallery with prosaic ruminations about their colors, imagined commentary from their subjects or observations on a selected detail. The art, which includes two American folk paintings, Leonardo's Ginevra de' Benci and works from the likes of Renoir, Derain and Rothko, is reproduced with fair fidelity, labeled on the page and followed up at the end with paragraphs of random facts about each artist. Though the designer tries hard to pump up the poems with changes of color, line shape and typeface, there's not much that can be done with lines like, "The ladies with hats that flatter / Don't permit cups to clatter / Nor tea to splatter / On silvery platters," ("Oh So Perfect") or "The sky is full / Of fuzzy white polka dots." ("Moving White Fluffs"). With better pairings of art and words like Jan Greenberg's Heart To Heart (2001), Charles Sullivan's Imaginary Gardens (1989) or the classic Talking to the Sun (1985) available, this is an additional item at best. (Poetry. 7-10)Read full book review >