Ride a Bright and Shining Pony

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9781938144103: Ride a Bright and Shining Pony

When Cynthia, a young, low-level writer for a New York history book publisher, takes a bus to Washington, D.C. in August 1963 to spend her two week vacation with her lover, Lester, a newspaper reporter, she looks forward to making love, possibly quietly getting married. Instead, history intervenes. Cynthia, a conservative Northerner, and Lester, a liberal Southerner, are unavoidably drawn into the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The peaceful idealism of the March is followed--all in the space of 24 hours--by racial violence, mayhem, and eventually, tragedy.

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About the Author:

Author-artist Elisabeth Stevens was born in Rome, New York, lived in New York City and the Metropolitan area, and spent several decades in Baltimore, Maryland. She now lives and works in Sarasota, Florida. She is the author of six books of poetry, six books of short fiction and many monographs, articles and reviews about art, artists and writers.

A former art and architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun and a former art critic for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Trenton Times, Stevens is a graduate of Wellesley College and has a M.A. with High Honors in Modern Literature from Columbia University.

Instinctively "a word-picture" person, Stevens has designed and illustrated many of her books with original graphics. This 2011 BrickHouse Books' edition of Sirens' Songs represents a paperback facsimile of the 2010 Sirens' Songs, a livre di'artiste, original etchings in a clamshell box, published in a limited edition of twenty copies by Goss Press. Literary adult books in which the author and the artist are the same person are rare. The unique books of William Blake serve as prototypes, and certain late Nineteenth Century books produced in Paris with illustrations by Matisse, Picasso and others provide further inspiration.

Stevens, whose graphics have been exhibited widely (recently at Stakenborg Fine Art in Sarasota) enjoys the livre d'artiste form because it combines original art works with literature. Her first book in this genre was Eranos, a short story with five copper plate etchings, published in 2000. She is now at work on a third such book, Late Poems.

Review:

''Stevens' narrators 'revel in the magic underlying the quotidian. . . .' '' --Perry Crowe, KIRKUS DISCOVERIES

'Death And loss are in the palette of her words and graphics. There is also an erotic element.'' --Dan Cuddy, LITE, Baltimore's Literary Newspaper

''The world of which I do not tire is the world of the imagination.' --Stevens' interview wilth Rosemary Klein and Barbara Simon, HOUSEHOLD WORDS, 2nd edition

Elisabeth Steven's latest novel, Ride a Bright and Shining Pony, is a tour de force on all levels cultural, psychological, and philosophical. An accomplished artist and poet, Stevens enhances her book's themes with original etchings and metaphoric language.

The plot revolves around the historical march in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, when women and men of all colors joined together peacefully to advocate for jobs and justice. The dream of brotherhood, however, was turned to nightmare in Stevens' novel when individual blacks and whites shot each other, and a mob marched to the local police station, where two innocent blacks had been jailed.

In that mob was Cynthia, the white protagonist and first-person narrator, who came to Washington less for the march toward racial equality than her personal march toward marriage with her lover, Lester, a liberal Southerner reporting for a Washington newspaper. His hypocrisy is exposed when he believes that his best (black) friend is flirting with Cynthia and his best (white) friend has been murdered by a black.

Cynthia's movement toward maturity is measured in small steps as she tries to understand her prior marriage, current affair, and relationships in general between the races. She comes to realize that even when and however love and trust are lost, there remains hope, embodied in the lullaby which Lester sang to her and which provides lines for the novel's title.

The etchings that preface the novel and divide its two parts are rich with classical allusion, fairytale-like grotesquerie, and the complex psychology of anger terrified and depressed by its own force.

Stevens' novel portrays not only an historic moment in American history, but also the ancient conflict of good and evil, as expressed by Cynthia's insight about moral challenges: ''The old patterns to be discarded were more than reactionary laws and narrow-mindedness. They encompassed a cruel, murky malevolence, an obdurate stain infecting blacks and whites alike.'' --Nancy Norris-Kniffin, Ph.D. - Lecturer, Center for Liberal Arts, Johns Hopkins University

''The world of which I do not tire is the world of the imagination.' --Stevens' interview wilth Rosemary Klein and Barbara Simon, HOUSEHOLD WORDS, 2nd edition

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Elisabeth Stevens
Published by BrickHouse Books, Inc. (2013)
ISBN 10: 1938144104 ISBN 13: 9781938144103
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Stevens, Elisabeth
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