An optimistic, wise collection that offers the pleasures of discovery.

THE BEAUTIFUL

POETS REIMAGINE A NATION

In a country inundated with political and social ugliness, a nationally curated poetry anthology forefronts the beautiful.  

For poet, critic, and editor Lomax, a poem can be many things. This anthology features entries from poets from every state and, pointedly, the United States’ inhabited territories and commonwealths. Each contributor provides a “found poem” that conveys what they find beautiful. In short, Lomax asked each writer to engage in “witnessing, not creating.” A couple of poets chose work by others, but several chose photographs, news articles, and social media screenshots. Each work includes the rationale for its submission. Many revered poets participate, including Eileen Myles, Jericho Brown, and Dorothea Lasky, but there are several lesser-known writers hailing from as far as Cameroon and South Korea. The location and text appear on the left and the image on the right; this is a welcome layout concept since more abstract images require context for readers to effectively see what the poet is seeing. The anthology’s theme, Lomax writes, is partially in response to the Trump presidency and its lingering assault on our ability to connect with the beauty around us; through beauty we can “heal the wrongdoing at hand.” Some works reflect on a memory that addresses multiple issues, like race, identity, and ingenuity; for example, Brown’s entry for the state of Georgia is short but affecting. He provides the phone number of a figure known as “Hustle Man” whose numerous professions make him “an example of the everything black folk will do to survive.” Tiphanie Yanique of the U.S. Virgin Islands chose a screenshot that celebrates the YA novel Hurricane Child (2018) by fellow Virgin Islands writer Kheryn Callender that explores queerness, climate change, and the legacy of colonization without resting on tropes. This is an untraditional offering, and entries range widely in type and scope; the collective effect is both peripatetic and profound.

An optimistic, wise collection that offers the pleasures of discovery.

Pub Date: April 7, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-9850219-6-7

Page Count: 145

Publisher: Gualala Arts

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.

INSIDE THE DREAM PALACE

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NEW YORK'S LEGENDARY CHELSEA HOTEL

A revealing biography of the fabled Manhattan hotel, in which generations of artists and writers found a haven.

Turn-of-the century New York did not lack either hotels or apartment buildings, writes Tippins (February House: The Story of W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof In Wartime America, 2005). But the Chelsea Hotel, from its very inception, was different. Architect Philip Hubert intended the elegantly designed Chelsea Association Building to reflect the utopian ideals of Charles Fourier, offering every amenity conducive to cooperative living: public spaces and gardens, a dining room, artists’ studios, and 80 apartments suitable for an economically diverse population of single workers, young couples, small families and wealthy residents who otherwise might choose to live in a private brownstone. Hubert especially wanted to attract creative types and made sure the building’s walls were extra thick so that each apartment was quiet enough for concentration. William Dean Howells, Edgar Lee Masters and artist John Sloan were early residents. Their friends (Mark Twain, for one) greeted one another in eight-foot-wide hallways intended for conversations. In its early years, the Chelsea quickly became legendary. By the 1930s, though, financial straits resulted in a “down-at-heel, bohemian atmosphere.” Later, with hard-drinking residents like Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan, the ambience could be raucous. Arthur Miller scorned his free-wheeling, drug-taking, boozy neighbors, admitting, though, that the “great advantage” to living there “was that no one gave a damn what anyone else chose to do sexually.” No one passed judgment on creativity, either. But the art was not what made the Chelsea famous; its residents did. Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Robert Mapplethorpe, Phil Ochs and Sid Vicious are only a few of the figures populating this entertaining book.

A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-618-72634-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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