neversink library

i've talked about melville house publishers before. well, they continue to make simple, elegant volumes catering to my exact design aesthetic. i've started reading after midnight by irmgard keun, which is from melville house's neversink library, a collection of literature (both fiction and non-fiction) meant, in their words, "[to champion] books from around the world that have been overlooked, underappreciated, looked askance at, or foolishly ignored." that statement makes me think of the new york review of books collection.

they just seem... perfect! the fact that there are publishers working to bring us literature that is worthwhile from other countries and other centuries makes me have hope for the future of publishing. this also brings to light a problem i have with e-readers: they all look the same. what a shame to miss the beauty of a physical book such as one of these simply-designed volumes.


gall et al.

i've seen these marvelous nabokov covers before, but i hadn't yet looked into their creator. john gall conceived of the specimen box idea and, with various designers, has an entire nabokov collection to show for it. i love the idea of containing particular elements of a story under a glass case—it's brilliant. i love how designers like john gall think. and look at these covers!


here's a slideshow of all 18 covers that were designed as a part of this project, on which gall worked with several other artists + designers. i recognized some of the designers' names—peter mendelsund, stephen doyle, marian bantjes, chip kidd, dave eggers. it's so cool to see how each designer brought a particular title to life in their individual, artistic way.

speaking of peter mendelsund, remember his kafka series? that was supposed to possibly come out in june or july 2011? i haven't seen any of them yet... hmm. well, if there is any information to be had, i will find it out. hopefully i will have at least one of mendelsund's kafka covers in my hands by the end of the summer. now that borders is liquidating their entire chain, we all need to make sure we support the publishing industry by buying books LIKE CRAZY. i'm prrretty sure i'm doing my part. are you? teehee. maybe i've spurred you on today.

have a cool + shady tuesday.


cy: also a photographer.

everyone knows the late cy twombly was a painter. maybe fewer people realize that he was also a photographer—a fact of which i was reminded by the new yorker. he'd published a few photography books, the last having come out in april of this year. what do you think?

lemon, gaeta, 2008

tulips, rome, 1985

yard sale, lexington, 2008

brushes, lexington, 2005

cabbages, gaeta, 1998

sunset, gaeta, 2008

i love cy twombly. he is a master of color, in my opinion. and isn't it fabulous that there's no difference between the quality of images taken in the 1980's and those taken just a few years ago? i especially like the "yard sale" photograph. like i said: cy was a master of color.

onward to friday and the weekend...!
have a lovely one.


of lamb: part 2

of lamb

lamb lived
in the background.
lamb—small, plump,
unobserved. lamb was one
of the listeners.
he moved among
the rouged illusions
of dawn.
cheerful lamb
liked tinsel.
he imagined
a satin-clad
found mary
crying in the
as pretty as a poem
was mary.
lamb stuttered.
lamb leaves a rose on the lawn.
lamb and mary
were alike.
mary called him.


lamb settled on his pillow—
the material a faded print
of princes.
for lamb,
time was full
of time.
lamb's delicate breath
grew stronger,
his poems dreamy.
lamb imagined the story of a lamb
made human.
did not always make a good first impression
in conventional society.
lamb thought about
trousers, but he was
a nonconformist.
he was,
to use his own phrase,
half a man.
blurred mornings—
the smooth lawns sprinkled with lamb's imagination.
bright glint
in the garden—
lamb jumping
in december.


easter was a tough master.
a perm did not prove sucessful.
his anxiety
a glittering chandelier
rustling in his mind.
the nearest field,
sixteen miles.
foolish dignity
and moonlit tears:
his two prevailing moods.
vacillating lamb
owed everything,
owed nothing
to love.

—matthea harvey, from of lamb

i wanted to post more of the poetry from of lamb, the book i wrote about yesterday. when i first read + saw the pages of this book, i instantly thought of "mary had a little lamb," and loved the idea of a sort of love affair between a girl and a lamb. as you read the poem, though, the story becomes more and more about the hapless, heartbreaking tangles of love; the innocence of beginning it, and the sobering wisdom that arrives with the continuing reality it exposes.

however, as harvey writes in the note at the end of the book, there are several layers to this story:
i made a whited-out version of [david] cecil's entire book [a portrait of charles lamb]... for of lamb, we selected 106 whited-out pages and arranged them into a narrative. amy jean created paintings based on those pages, changing and complicating the story told by the words. the book you are currently reading, then, is like a game of telephone, or an archeological site, each layer taking something from the layer before and transforming it. first, there is the late lord david cecil's biographical engagement with his long-dead subject, published in 1986. then there is my erasure of that text, influenced by sarah josepha hale's nineteenth-century rhyme, "mary had a little lamb," the true story of mary sawyer bringing her pet lamb to school. ...
beneath all these layers lies the story of the sibling pair, charles and mary lamb. charles was born in london in 1775. his sister mary was eleven years his elder, and they were incredibly devoted to each other. in 1796, mary had an attack of madness, and after chasing her apprentice around the room with a knife, killed her mother and wounded her father. she was sent to a mental institution. three years later, after their father's death, charles brought mary to live with him, and was her companion and caretaker for the rest of their lives together.

sometimes you read something that makes a great impression on you, and for me, this is one. i think it's the english major in me—i love the layers and the number of different interpretations within these lines. and the art major in me is affected + inspired by how the paintings alter and add to those interpretations.

poetry + art = meant to be!
have a lovely tuesday.


of lamb

some amount of happiness has been rising over the publication of this lovely lovely volume, called of lamb. it was published by mcsweeney's and created by poet matthea harvey and artist amy jean porter. as harvey explains on her site, the poem-fragments are "from an erasure of a biography of charles lamb." i love the artwork, i love the poetic lines. the story feels complicated and intimate, something you can read into if you are so inclined... or something you can appreciate aesthetically if not in the mood for literary analysis. the artwork is dreamy and suits the verses completely. look!

lamb is such a sympathetic character. after all, i think we all have the need to be a favorite lamb, don't you? teehee.

nice for a rainy monday morning, i think.


taylor + le carré

lately in the shop there's been a rush on john le carré mystery novels, and i've been falling in love with penguin's paperback editions. uk illustrator matt taylor is responsible for their brilliance: he's the one whose art is featured on each volume. have a look:

i LOVE these. the art + the design are so perfectly cohesive. flawless, really. in addition, they are reminiscent of the james bond films and book covers... which is never a bad thing. you can see more of taylor's work here—and go visit his blog! he posts about what he's currently working on, which is always interesting. in the meantime, here are some images to whet your artistic appetite.

so much l o v e.

hasta la vista—
que tengáis un finde buenísimo!


gert und uwe

gert + uwe tobias are romanian artists (now living in germany). they recently had a one-day show in berlin, comprised of twelve woodcut still-lifes of trussed-up birds, giant butterflies, and creatures that live only in the imagination. i saw their work in frieze magazine and loved three things about it: 1) every inch of the 97" x 77" surfaces was covered 2) with compositions full of bright plumes of color 3) set down on the page via woodcut prints.

i love color. i am open to minimalist artwork that employs neutrals, but i wholly love pieces in which the artist(s) embrace and mix hues in a sensitive, particular way. it makes me feel like the artist is so well-acquainted with color that s/he instinctively understands how (and how not) to combine it with others. as such, these pieces are stunning to me. i've not been able to find the images i'm describing to you online, so i've photographed what i found in frieze, and am posting the work i could find.

from frieze magazine, may 2011

someday when the art from the berlin show appears in cyberspace, i will share the rest of it with you! for now, these will suffice. i am not as captivated by the above pieces as i am by their more recent work, but you get what they are capable of here, and you see their way with color. plus, any artist who makes woodcut prints is, in my humble opinion, awesome.

lastly, and on a somber note, another artist who fully embraced color and made me want to live in his painted worlds died this week: cy twombly, may you rest.

have a splendid wednesday, all.


the birthday party

vee speers is a photographer whose work, i think, reflects the same type of attitude toward oddity and innocence that diane arbus did. speers' bio reads,
speers also began photographing eccentric people she met along the way, satisfying her attraction to those who dare to be different. ... her ability to blur the line between autobigraphy and fantasy, the bizarre and beautiful, is the key to these timeless portraits.

just for reference, here are some of diane arbus's photographs, also:

i see speers' work as similar to arbus's in that she focuses on the singular weirdness of certain individuals, including children. the photos above are from her series called "the birthday party," in which she casts children in oddly grown-up roles, played up with beehive hair + an astute sense of style.

i love the look of her photographs, as well as the content. speers' way with composition and color is really wonderful, and although she shares the same interest as arbus in the curious, speers portrays her subjects with a touch of delicacy and aesthetism all her own—they almost could be fashion photographs...!



i always have to wait until july. then i can really let myself believe it is summertime. i love all the messiness and heat and icy indulgences of summer. i love that laziness is allowed; the sloth that results from days of intense heat, your only activity angling for a spot directly in front of the fan or a/c, preferably with proximity to cold beverages. i love that it is perfectly okay to have ice cream for dinner if you just can't imagine eating anything that doesn't live in the freezer. i love beaches. thunderstorms. late light. summer reading. bare feet. sigh.

i should mention that it is a breezy, cloudy 73 degrees here right now (with, i might add, a predicted afternoon heat index of 105 degrees). so i am probably not to be trusted while waxing poetic on the drippingly humid, hot days that surely await, and which, in the moment, i will surely not appreciate in quite the same way.

but who cares? it's SUMMER. and so, let us indulge in some seasonal photographs culled from the new yorker's photobooth.

have a lovely friday, y'all.

images: 1+2, 3+4+5, 6, 7+8