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.
I have just published my second book, a graphic memoir titled “The Highs and Lows of Shapeshift Ma and Big-Little Frank,” through by Gold Wake Press, and the book will be hot off the presses in late September/ early October. I’m planning a book tour from Colorado all the way back East to Vermont.
Here’s the book, with the tools of my trade: yes, flowers are tools too! I created of the artwork in the book with pen and ink, and I designed the cover with the help of Liza Cannon and Nick Courtright.
As a teaser, here is a brief description, and an illustration from the book:
Frances Cannon’s illustrations and prose dance in tandem in this dark fairytale of mental illness, adventure, and resilience. This graphic memoir traces the bumpy road-trip of an unusual mother and daughter duo. Shapeshift Ma displays the erratic behaviors of manic depression. She soars insatiable appetite for love, accomplishment, entertainment, and sex; and in times of emotional despair, she transforms into a wild mare. Her daughter, Big-Little Frank, steels herself against hardship by developing an alter ego—an old, wise grandmotherly self—but when she reaches adulthood, her more vulnerable animal core reveals itself as a bunny-child in need of comfort. Together, they travel around the country in an old junker car, fleeing from fire, divorce, and depression, seeking distraction in romance and art.
For more information about the book, and to pre-order, (book will be officially released October 1rst), here is Gold Wake’s website:
TOUR DATES AND LOCATIONS
are still solidifying, but for now, here are the events that have already been booked and the towns that I will be passing through, between late September and the first half of October. Keep your eyes peeled for my announcements, and if you live in one of the following towns, come out to hear me read and buy a book. Also, if you have suggestions for venues for the dates later in my tour (East Coast, mostly), reach out!
- Sept 29th, Fort Collins, Colorado, Reading and musical events at Wolverine Press Publick House, 7:30
- October 1rst at 6pm at Trident Booksellers & Cafe in Boulder, Colorado
- October 5th at 6:30 pm, reading at Beaverdale Books with Paul Brooke in Des Moines, Iowa
- Oct. 14th I will be reading from and selling my books at the Book Fair as part of the Iowa City Book Festival, downtown on the Ped Mall in Iowa City, 10am-4pm
- Oct 15th at the Iowa City Book Festival, I will be reading as part of the Day in the City of Literature on Sunday. Reading at Daydreams Comics with graphic novelist John Ira Thomas.
- Oct 16, Reading at 6-7pm at Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago, IL
- Oct 17, Reading time/place to be determined Philadelphia, PA
- Oct 17, Reading time/place to be determined in Ohio
- Oct 18, Reading time/place to be determined New York, NY
- Oct 19, Reading time/place to be determined New Haven, CT
- Oct 20, Reading time/place to be determined Amherst, MA
- Book release at either New City Galerie or The Hive (or both!) in late November in Burlington, VT
- November 19th, tune into Vermont Bon Mot radio program: live broadcast on WGDR 91.1 FM on Sunday evening from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Bon Mot streams world-wide on WGDR.ORG and is archived for two weeks of on-demand listening enjoyment. http://www.crowmilk.org/bonmot/
- November 20th, catch my reading at the LIT CLUB at the LAMP SHOP, at 7pm in Burlington. See their Facebook page for information, https://www.facebook.com/lovepoetrylovelamps12N0W00SKI810/
I can’t tell you everything, or anything, but I’ll tease you with some artwork! This book is coming out in the next season through GOLD WAKE PRESS.
I must put out another song of gratitude for all those who helped me publish a book of poems this summer, and those who helped me thrive in my artist residency, produce art, and participate in the farmer’s market.
Thanks to Ben Aleshire and Honeybee Press for leading and guiding the book publishing efforts.
Thanks to John Vincent of Revolutionary Press for enabling the letterpress process in his New Haven studio.
Thanks to Joseph Pensak, Lydia Kerns, and the New City Galerie for hosting my messy artsy self (see the photo of my studio below).
Thanks to those who helped me copy edit (Sam, Ryan, Stef, Robert, Cecile, Janet, Liza, Rebecca, Ben, am I missing anyone?)
Thanks to those who helped print, bind, glue, and fold books, what a lot of work! (Liza, Sam, Janet, Ben)
Thanks to those who fed me and loved me throughout the process (Andrea Solazzo! And all of the others)…
I have just embarked on a new collaborative adventure with my dear, musical genius friend from the Midwest, Christopher the Conquered. These are a few examples of the types of drawings I will be creating in response to his music. Here is what he has to say about the project:
“100 NEW SONGS, STARTING TODAY.
I am very excited to announce a new project I am undertaking, starting today, called Christopher the Conquered’s 100 Songs Project, in which I will write, record, and publish 100 songs over the course of the next year. Each song is based on individual fans of mine from around the world. I’ve always written from my own perspective; now I’m ready to look through the lens of others’ experiences.
Each song will be accompanied by an original illustration by visual artist Franky Frances Cannon, created in response to the composition.
I will release 2 songs per week on average, typically on Wednesdays. You can get notified of the new songs by “Following” me on Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/ctconquered). I also would love for you to share songs you love using the hashtag: #100ConqueredSongs
The 100 Songs Project is made possible with support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Iowa Arts Council.”
Amidst the chaos of the AWP writer’s conference in Los Angeles and the Mission Creek Literary festival in Iowa City, I’m celebrating with fingers crossed the news that I’m a finalist for the Green Mountain Review Book Prize.