Category: poetry

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National Poetry Month: Octavio Paz

Octavio Paz would have been 100 years old on March 31, so we're honoring him and celebrating National Poetry Month with a look at his 1988 collaboration with artist Robert Motherwell.  In this volume, the original Spanish poetry is printed in red, with an English translation in black.  Paz and Motherwell respond to each other artistically throughout the volume; Motherwell's lithographs are inspired by Paz's poetry, while one of Paz's poems, "Piel, sonida del mundo," is a contemplation of Motherwell's artwork.  The book is quite large; the lens cap from our camera is included in one of the images below to indicate scale.

Three Poems / Tres Poemas was published by the Limited Editions Club in an edition of 750, signed by the author and illustrator.  Special Collections has copy number 263.  MERLIN catalog record.

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Posted in Artist's Books, Rare Book Collection

God’s Trombones by James Weldon Johnson

This month's final post in our series celebrating African-American artists and writers brings together two greats of the Harlem Renaissance: James Weldon Johnson and Aaron Douglas.  Johnson was multi-talented: an educator, writer, attorney and musician, he was the author of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a leader of the NAACP, and the first African-American professor at New York University.  God's Trombones is considered one of his most important works.  Douglas was one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance.  He developed a distinctive style that blended modernism with African influences and was highly influential in the development of later African-American artists.

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Posted in Artist's Books, Rare Book Collection

The Black Christ by Countee Cullen with illustrations by Charles Cullen

This post is the third in our series highlighting the work of African-American artists and authors in Special Collections.  Countee Cullen was one of the leading poets and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance.  This book of poetry, published at the height of his career, examines the relationships between faith and injustice.  Cullen draws parallels between the suffering of the crucified Christ and the suffering of African Americans in the climate of racial violence that characterized the 1920s. The copy in Special Collections is inscribed by Cullen to Frank Luther Mott, who was Dean of the School of Journalism from 1942 to 1951.

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Posted in Artist's Books, Rare Book Collection, Special Collections
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