A Poem and Portraits
Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780307962492, 128pp.
Publication Date: December 3, 2013
A rare and beautifully produced "accordion" book by renowned novelist and poet Anne Michaels and acclaimed artist and writer Bernice Eisenstein that will cause a stir for both its form and its content.
Anne Michaels's resonant book-length poem--which unfolds on one side of the pages of this accordion book--ranges from the universal to the intimate, as she writes of historical figures for whom language was the closest thing to salvation; on the other side, we have Bernice Eisenstein's luminous portraits of and quotes from such twentieth-century writers and thinkers as Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs, W. G. Sebald, Anna Akhmatova, Primo Levi, and Albert Einstein. The poetry and portraits join together in a dialogue that can be read in any direction and any order, in a format that perfectly reflects the thematic interconnectedness of this collaboration: "an alphabet of spirits and spirit; an elegy of remembrance" (Eisenstein); "just as a conversation becomes the third side of the page . . . the moment one life becomes another" (Michaels).
Born in Canada in 1949, Bernice Eisenstein was awarded an honors degree in English literature from Yale University before moving to Israel and England to study art. Following her return to Canada several years later, she worked there as a freelance editor and illustrator for numerous publishing houses and periodicals. Today she is a regular contributor to "The Globe and Mail,"