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).
Anne Michaels is the author of the internationally best-selling novel Fugitive Pieces, winner of the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Guardian Fiction Award, and the Orange Prize for Fiction, among many other honors. Fugitive Pieces was made into a major motion picture. Her second novel, The Winter Vault, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Trillium Book Award, and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and a nominee for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She is also the author of three highly acclaimed poetry collections. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages.