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Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell

Simic, Charles; Cornell, Joseph

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ISBN 10: 0880013036 / ISBN 13: 9780880013031
Published by Ecco Press, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1992
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From citynightsbooks (Allston, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First printing. Oatmeal cloth spine, blue boards. Artist (B&W) reproductions on coated paper. Near fine in like DJ in Mylar. Invitation to Grolier book party laid in. 77 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 5496

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph ...

Publisher: Ecco Press, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1992

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: First Edition.

Book Type: Book

About this title

Synopsis:

The task Charles Simic undertakes in this diverse, essentially unclassifiable book is one of illumination and tribute. Rather than constrict his response to Joseph Cornell's surreal art to the objective terms of critical analysis, Simic sets out to recreate in a different medium - the written language of the poet - the experience of viewing Cornell's enigmatic constructions of boxes, collages, and film. Partly an appreciation of Cornell's work, partly an appropriation of his method, Dime-Store Alchemy interweaves elements of art history, poetry, and biography in a series of short texts that create a kind of poetic equivalent to Cornell's visual art. The artist's premise that the world is beautiful, but not sayable becomes Simic's as well. From incisive meditations on Cornell's methods and aims, Simic moves to create his own assemblages in the spirit of Cornell and the poets he admired - Dickinson, Whitman, and Poe. The resulting prose poems are studded with the same unlikely combinations of found objects and dime-store jewels that inhabit Cornell's boxes. Simic's evocative images, like Cornell's, defy rational explanation but instead invite the viewer to participate in the imaginative life of the art, "to make up stories about what one sees." This highly personal consideration of one of the most important visual artists of the twentieth century conveys the same spirit of chance, the same playful celebration of the miraculous properties of the commonplace, that distinguishes the work of an artist who is, as Simic writes, "in the end unknowable."

About the Author:

CHARLES SIMIC is a poet, essayist, and translator. He teaches American literature and creative writing at the University of New Hampshire. He has published five books of essays, a memoir, numerous translations, and sixteen collections of poetry, the most recent of which is The Voice at 3:00 AM. Among the many literary awards Simic has received are a MacArthur Fellowship and the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in New Hampshire.

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