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Original Essays | August 20, 2014

Julie Schumacher: IMG Dear Professor Fitger



Saint Paul, August 2014 Dear Professor Fitger, I've been asked to say a few words about you for Powells.com. Having dreamed you up with a ball-point... Continue »
  1. $16.07 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Dear Committee Members

    Julie Schumacher 9780385538138

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Customer Comments

EllenSka has commented on (13) products.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus

EllenSka, January 1, 2012

A surrealistic book about the circus, painting a magical portrait of the unconscious in all its wonderment, bafflement, and wisdom? The very premise was MADE for me!

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Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell by Charles Simic
Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell

EllenSka, October 23, 2011

Poet Charles Simic’s little book lauds assemblage artist Joseph Cornell (best known for his box assemblages), obliquely outlines the theoretical bases of assemblage and collage, and touches the deep heart of “it” -- the beautiful mystery. This newly rereleased paperback is perhaps even more timely today than when it was first released in 1992. Biography, image, quotation, introspection, and observation are collected and juxtaposed in assemblage-like short prose poems to deep effect. Simic, the U.S. Poet Laureate of 2007, saw much trouble in his Yugoslavian youth and appreciates the ambiguities of art and memory, and this book, inspired by Joseph Cornell, gives the reader a survivor’s hope and sustenance.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)



Book + Art: Handcrafting Artists' Books by Dorothy Simp Krause
Book + Art: Handcrafting Artists' Books

EllenSka, September 29, 2011

This inspiring book is not a step-by-step how-to-duplicate guidebook or another helpful book on art journaling. Rather, it briefly describes techniques that the intermediate book artist can use to expand their repertoire in making works of art in book form. It highlights true, single-theme artists’ books made by the author, herself an accomplished artist. This might make the average scrapbooker feel jealous amd frustrated; if so, skip this book and go back to the slew of art journaling technique books currently on the market.

If, on the other hand, innovative works by a careful craftsman inspire awe and joy in you, by all means, appreciate the beautiful editions and the tips Ms. Krause has so generously shared. There are many of the author’s unique books to marvel over here; enjoy the feast!
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Snow Falling From a Bamboo Leaf: The Art of Haiku by Hiag Akmakjian

EllenSka, September 24, 2011

The author’s approach to haiku in this slim volume is illuminating. He speaks eloquently of “the haiku form and feeling.” “The subjects of haiku are simple ones,” he writes, “usually common experiences. And haiku are concerned with human emotions, not actions: descriptions of nature and events used as a device for conveying feelings.”

He translates Basho’s famous haiku thus:
the old pond-- / a frog jumps in / plunk!

Akmakjian’s dissatisfaction with translations available at the time (1979) prompted him to produce his own translations, with a line-by-line transliteration at the bottom so the reader can see what he’s done with it. On the art of translating haiku, he says, “The reader wants the poem, not the language of the poem, wants the feeling of the original, not lexicograpic reverence -- connotation, not etymology.”

Part 1 is an essay of about 30 pages on “The Haiku Poem as Form.” This is followed by 60 haiku. An appendix gives very brief biographies of four noted poets: Basho, Taniguchi Buson, Issa, and Shiki.

Either as an introduction to haiku, with a number of the well-known haiku poets represented, or as a nuanced appreciation for the reader already familiar with the form, this little book is a quiet and thoughtful addition.
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Hound by Vincent Mccaffrey
Hound

EllenSka, September 20, 2011

Henry Sullivan, the book hound protagonist of the title, ekes out a meager living finding fine editions of old books and selling them to other dealers. Henry’s uneventful life is shaken by a contemporary murder, along with an intriguing mystery from a century earlier. The writing is fluid, the name-dropping of authors is gratifying, and the clear love of the antiquarian book industry makes one want to go out and savor fine bindings and classic editions.

Vincent McCaffrey, himself a used bookstore owner, has written a poignant tribute to the lost art of classical reading and the sensory delights of a well-produced volume, lamenting the ongoing decline of bookstores, to the sorrow of those of us who love them.

However, though I don’t read a lot of mysteries, even I could tell the book needed better editing. I suspect the author was trying for a genre-challenging book, something closer to real life than the melodramatics of the standard mystery, but he doesn’t have the structural control to pull off anything too unconventional. The book suffers notably from a lack of character tags, so that when a character is reintroduced 40 pages later, the reader has to go back to figure out who it is and where they fit. The pacing was also off, with the main murder not occurring until 85 pages in, and, unforgivably, a climactic scene is related in summary, after the fact.

But for all that, it’s a great read, more authentic than John Dunning’s similar mystery, “Booked to Die,” giving readers a close-up look at the joys and struggles of the rare and antiquarian book trade. It made me shut off the computer and go look at my bookshelves again, ready to enjoy a book not only for the content, but for its lasting contribution to the culture, and to the pleasures of fine craftsmanship.

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