Oaxaca is one of my favorite cities—what a robust art culture, both traditional and contemporary. I spent hours in museums: the contemporary art museum, the contemporary painting museum, the textile museum, and Francisco Toledo’s restored art center in San Augustin in Etla, called C.A.S.A., where they make handmade paper with natural dyes, and pottery, printmaking, you name it. I filled an entire notebook of paintings of trees, flowers, foods, people, sculptures; here is a small handful of paintings from this recent trip.
Sometimes I’m too productive for my own good—I lose track of art and writing pieces as I start new projects, and I’m grateful that my old computer hasn’t kicked the bucket (yet), for I often rediscover artwork that I forget even having created. Here’s a painting of mushrooms that I made to compliment and article I wrote for Vice magazine’s food imprint, “Munchies,” many years ago, although I’ll admit that they didn’t choose to include the illustration, and they gave my essay a new title which I’m not as fond of (so goes the editorial process!): This Man Believes Mushrooms Can Solve Virtually All of Humanity’s Problems
I’m thrilled to announce that a new collaboration has been released into the world of hybrid art and literature—poetry and paintings, the former by the lovely and talented GennaRose Nethercott, and the latter by yours truly.
GennaRose is the author of the highly acclaimed and stunning book of poems, The Lumberjack’s Dove, which was published by HarperCollins, and was selected by Louise Gluck for the National Poetry Series in 2018. A hearty cheers for all of this, but more importantly for me, GennaRose is a delightful, enthusiastic presence in Vermont, where I have crossed paths with her in literary and artistic circles over the past decade. We finally came together to collaborate on this exchange of art and poetry, for the series published by 7×7.la, who describe their project this way:
“Launched in 2015 to facilitate a new kind of interdisciplinary collaboration, each 7×7 invites one visual artist and one writer to engage in a two-week creative conversation. The format, inspired by Surrealist games of the early 20th century, challenges participants to improvise, in their respective disciplines, a spontaneous story that pushes into ever-wilder imaginative terrain. Every finished 7×7 is singular, unclassifiable, and wholly original.”
I loved this process, and the results are pretty dandy.
Green Mountains Review just published my graphic review of Taneum Bambrick’s new book of poems, Vantage. Read my review, and then read her book:
How delightful! The writer and editor Cammie Finch recently interviewed me about my recent book for the Michigan Quarterly Review. You can find and read the interview, titled “Resurrecting Walter Benjamin’s Archival Spirit”, via the link below.
Also, follow Cammie Finch, she’s a bright beam of intelligent light.
My Review of Paige Ackerson-Kiely’s collection of poems, “Dolefully, A Rampart Stands,” has now been published on the Green Mountain Review website:
Puppet night at the bar
Old Tom Banjo’s on fire,
yodeling his crankies.
The sad mime finally speaks.
Cloth blob wags his tongue.
Chief Lee cocoons himself
in a roll of paper.
Last night’s event at the lamp shop, the PCP (Puppets, Crankies, and Pantomime) made me nostalgic for the massive puppetry endeavor that my sister, Nick, Stef, Ben, and I put together many years ago. Here’s a photo from that very involved spectacle:
Now that I have finally turned in my final grades for the three creative writing courses that I teach here in Vermont, I’m finally reaching my head above the chaos for a breath of fresh air, and I went back to re-read the marketing and publicity paperwork for MIT Press regarding my upcoming book. There, I found a very kind and thrilling description of my book among the Editor’s Picks for 2019 collection, written by the acquisitions editor who helped coach me through this process. Here is her write-up,
“Most of us are familiar with Walter Benjamin, but in revisiting him closely while doing research for this book, I was astonished to realize how persistent his influence is—and, in fact, growing.
Frances Cannon’s passion for Benjamin is infectious. Her graphic translations charm and captivate. In the same way that Benjamin’s writing is likened to a meandering stroll, Cannon’s pen wanders, strays, digresses. She illuminates Benjamin the flâneur—allowing us, along with her, to become flâneurs ourselves, traveling through his mind.
This is a fun read, and unpredictable in the best sense of the word. As one of the endorsers notes: “we need to come up with new names for something this wonderful and brand new in the world.”
I have some BIG ART and LIFE NEWS! I turned my manuscript in today for a new book with MIT Press! It won’t be released until next year, but the deadline was last night, and though I feel like a paper doll or zombie from lack of sleep and overworking my drawing fingers, I’m ecstatic and relieved to have completed this stage of the process. BUT, I am thrilled to be working on this book, which in short, is a graphic nonfiction “translation” of Walter Benjamin’s dreams, philosophies, and aphorisms. It’s been a long process and much more work lies ahead. Here are some teasers and some evidence of the towers of research texts that I accumulated during my process. You’ll also notice a stack of *some* of my notebooks filled with drawings. I can’t share any full illustrations, because art is not free and I want the book to stand alone as a physical art object in collaboration with MIT. For a better idea of what I’m working on, check out the fall 2017 issue of The Iowa Review, they published a visual essay of mine about Walter Benjamin, which was the precursor to this upcoming book, here’s the link.
I have been involved with so many art and writing projects (and publications) over the past few months that it slipped my mind to share the news that several pieces of mine were published in The Daily Palette, through Iowa Writes.