Cover photograph by Deborah Luster, used with permission from the photographer.
Eye to Eye

Spring 1999

Edited by Bradford Morrow.

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New Contemporary Writings, Plus a Portfolio of Writer/Artist Collaborations.

Rikki Ducornet, From The Fan-Maker’s Inquisition (with “Marquis de Sade” drawings by the author)
The opening chapters of Ducornet’s just-finished novel, a remarkable interview between de Sade’s exotic, sophisticated, insightful “fan-maker” and the probing interviewer known as “citizen,” interspersed with documentary epistles written by Sade himself (as only Rikki Ducornet could compose them on his behalf)—and all illustrated with erotic doodles by Ducornet/de Sade.

Ann Lauterbach, Handheld (At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum)
New poems by the author of (most recently) On a Stair and the January 1999 artist-in-residence at the Gardner Museum. Illustrated by paintings from the museum.

Three for Cornell
A tribute to Joseph Cornell by three contemporary writers, illustrated with heretofore unpublished reproductions of work by the great American artist.

Joyce Carol Oates, The Box Artist
Joseph Cornell is celebrated by the inimitable Oates in this imaginative recounting of the great artist at work building his three-dimensional collages.

Paul West, Boxed In
In, around, above, under, beside, through, away from, and straight to the heart of Cornell’s boxes, West brilliantly recreates a Cornell box with words in this exploration through fictional/essayistic high-energy prose by one of our great contemporary stylists.

Bradford Morrow, For Brother Robert
Sharing voices and visions, Joseph Cornell and his inspiring, beloved, handicapped brother Robert travel together through the phantasmagoric terrain of the Cornell boxes, in this fictional tribute to the act of art being something always collaborative and yet always solitary.

Brian Evenson, Internal, with paintings by Eve Aschheim
Dueling pseudo-psychologists meet by proxy in Evenson’s version of a conditioned-response box for interns. The text is offset by five paintings by minimalist Eve Aschheim.

Camille Guthrie, Four Poems for Louise Bourgeois
“Every day you have to abandon your past and accept it and then, if you cannot accept it, you become a sculptor”—Louise Bourgeois. In this series of four subtle, nuanced poems from the young poet Camille Guthrie’s newly finished, unpublished collection inspired by Bourgeois’s work, Articulated Lair, Ms. Guthrie explores in words the great sculptor’s articulations of spirit and thought in space. Illustrated with works by Bourgeois.

Robert Creeley and Archie Rand, Drawn & Quartered
Nine poems composed on the spot and handwritten directly on nine drawings by the inimitable Creeley and Rand. Includes a note by the poet explaining how this extraordinary collaboration took place: “As ‘twere in a dream! I felt as if I had been in some fantastic traffic of narratives … like very real life indeed. I loved the almost baroque feel of the drawings, the echo of old-time illustrations and children’s books."

William and Mary Gass, The Architecture of the Sentence
In the first-ever collaboration between architect Mary Gass and her novelist/literary theorist/philosopher husband, this visual essay explores the very essence of how images become verbalized. “Our investigation,” writes William Gass, “wonders whether it is possible to think or plan or design at all without a representational space in which to do it … a book is a building for what a brain has spun.” This brilliant work ranges from Aristotle to Chomsky to Calvino to Barth and beyond, in its inquiry into the dance between architecture and language.

John Yau and Trevor Winkfield, Three Peter Lorre Poems
A sequence starring the actor Peter Lorre in roles he might never had expected to play—“Peter Lorre Speaks to the Spirit of Edgar Allen Poe During a Seance,” “Peter Lorre Records His Favorite Walt Whitman Poem for Posterity,” and “My Chronology, by Peter Lorre as Told to John Yau.” Illustrated with five remarkable drawings by Trevor Winkfield.

Lynne Tillman and Haim Steinbach, Madame Realism Looks for Relief
1999 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Lynne Tillman weighs in with the latest installment of her Madame Realism series. This episode finds Madame Realism in an argument with a couple of Lower East Side bar habitues, Loman and Hightower. At stake is nothing less than the meaning of Western civilization. Deliciously and with serene humor, artist Haim Steinbach counterpunches with recent sculptures and installations.

Cole Swensen, Such Rich Hour
A cycle of poems from March to October responding to and engaging images from Les Très Riches Heures of the Duc de Berry, 15th century, computer-manipulated by the poet.

Robert Kelly and Brigitte Mahlknecht, From The Garden of Distances
“There is a sphinx of air in the middle of the air.” Two new poems—“The Rapture” and “The Invasion”—are accompanied by intricate drawings of impossible geographies by the renowned German artist.

Forrest Gander and Sally Mann, From Late Summer Entry
Photographer Sally Mann creates mysterious utopias of the natural world which are counterpointed with a series of delicate and authoritative poems by one of the finer poets of his generation.

C. D. Wright and Deborah Luster, Retablos
Poems in Spanish and English resonate with the enigmatic, evocative, and almost mythic silverprints of Deborah Luster. “This is the shape of the sound   all the information you need/Comes with the light   which melts away …”

Meredith Stricker, Lexicon
An alphabet of poems and images which together explore the meaning of ancient Greece, its myths, its paradoxical contemporaneity, its landscape and seascapes, its continuous presence in our current myths, minds, and various scapes.

Diana Michener, Solitaire
A portfolio of ten self-portraits by a contemporary master photographer. This narrative of words quite literally written on the body of Ms. Michener defies many of the ideas we might have had about the limitations of nudity, language, and aloneness.

As well as work by some of our greatest contemporary and modern writers:

Thomas Bernhard, Walking
The first definitive and authorized translation of Gehen, a full-length novella by the great Austrian writer that explores the idea that insanity is in the eye of the beholder. Translated from German by Kenneth Northcott, whose recent translations of Bernhard’s The Voice Imitator and Histrionics received high critical praise.

Diane Williams, Four Stories
New stories by one of the pioneers of “sudden fiction” and author most recently of Excitability, Selected Stories 1986–1996.

Suzan-Lori Parks, From In the Blood
The complete first act of Parks’ powerful new play, depicting with humanity and great precision the lives of a homeless black family forced by poverty to live in the shadows of an urban bridge. Among Ms. Parks’s many other theater works is the acclaimed screenplay for Girl Eight, directed by Spike Lee.

Marguerite Young, From The Black Widow
Miss Mackintosh, My Darling is an acknowledged twentieth-century masterpiece, and in this, a lengthy passage excerpted from Young’s final epic, a biography of Eugene Debs, Harp Song for a Radical, the author—in language of surpassing beauty and insight—records the life of Mary Todd Lincoln from the fateful day of her husband’s assassination to her own death. Young delicately examines, in this mini-biography, the death of utopianism and idealism in the face of political and social evils of the day.

Donald Revell, Five Poems
“Why not people Heaven/ With magpies.” Five new poems from the author of Erasures and Beautiful Shirt.

Myung Mi Kim, From Arcana
“Contralto: the affliction is very near—and there is no one to help.”

Barbara Guest, Ghosts
“The body in the field—beyond uneven brick.” New poetry by the winner of The Frost Medal and author of The Confetti Trees.

Rainer Maria Rilke, The Seventh Elegy (translated from the German by William H. Gass)
“No more courting. Voice, you’ve outgrown seduction.”