Tag Archives: art

Final Issue

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

“Paul” by Alexis Rhone Fancher

“Broadway Joe” by Alexis Rhone Fancher

“How the Grass Grows” by Susan Weinstein

Fiction:

Rowan Johnson | Rusty Tools

Nonfiction:

Rakefet Kopernik | Saba
Tim J. Myers | That Day
Joan Wilking | I Asked the Bird 

Translations:

Aurora Luque | Home Alone  | **Maria Elsy Cardona
Cristina Rivera Garza | happy redux | [beam in the water] | **Julia Leverone
Rosa Nevadovska | In a Field | A Home in the Bronx | **Merle Bachman
Nurit Zarchi | from Zarchi’s book Abel will Kiss Me | **Gili Haimovich

Book Reviews:

Lucille Lang Day | Becoming an Ancestor | Review by Lenore Weiss


**Indicates Translators

Issue 6.1 Spring 2017

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

"Crying Girl" by Alexander Chubar
“Crying Girl” by Alexander Chubar

"Moon Through Window" by CinCin Fang
“Moon Through Window” by CinCin Fang

"Skull" by Alexander Chubar
“Skull” by Alexander Chubar

Poetry:
(Guest Edited by Kristin LaTour)

Mischelle Anthony | Blackjack
Rachel Bunting | One Who Is Typically Accompanied by Unease
Jessica Cuello | The Whale Looks at Painted Depictions of Herself: Moby Dick Chapter 55
Stevie Edwards | Against Desire
Jack Giaour | dear kafka
David Greenstone | Family Vacation
Zoe Hitzel | Gender Dysphoria versus the February Skyline
Jennifer Schomburg Kanke | Summer Sonnet for a Sears House
Gerry LaFemina | Pocket Watch
Marlo Starr | Speech
Annie Stenzel | Posture [im]Perfect
Donna Vorreyer | Like Tree Rings, We Count the Years
Ian Randall Wilson | Anniversary
Monique Zamir | On Television II

Fiction:

Diane Payne | Harmony

Nonfiction:

M. J.  Arlett | South American Leaf Blight in Rubber Trees
Miriam Mandel Levi | My Gaza War
Nancy L. Penrose | Time Missing in the Grand Canyon

Translations:

Anna Akhmatova | The Heart’s Memory of Sun… | **Domenic Scopa
Aleksis Rannit | Winter | Henry Lyman**
Rainer Maria Rilke | My Body | **Susanne Petermann

Book Reviews:

John Guzlowski | Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded | Review by Sandra Kolankiewicz
Ron Rash | Above the Waterfall | Review by Kathleen Brewin Lewis

Spotlight on a Press:

Dos Madres Press | Review by Nettie Farris

 

**Indicates Translators

Issue 5.3 Fall 2016

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

"Waiting" by Brett Amory
“Waiting” by Brett Amory 

"Folly" by Brett Amory
“Folly” by Brett Amory

"Block Drugs Waiting" by Brett Amory
“Block Drugs Waiting” by Brett Amory

Nonfiction:

Bruce Black | The End of Shloshim
Chauna Craig | A Glittering of Hummingbirds, a Charm
Heather Durham | Earth to Earth
Margot Anne Kelley | Living While Large
Jen Soriano | Making the Tongue Dry
Clinton Peters | Sailing the Iowa Sea 

Translations:

Anastasia Afanasieva | She Speaks | “I Used to Like…” | **Olga Livshin and Andrew Janco
Marat Baskin | The Mad Trumpet Player’s Wife | **Nina Kossman
Eduardo Milán | Undress Your Language | **John Oliver Simon
Elhanan Nir | This Winter | **Ross Weissman

Book Review:

Raymond Wong | I’m Not Chinese | Review by Charse Yun

Spotlight on a Press:

Broadstone Books | Review by Nettie Farris

 

**Indicates Translators 

Issue 5.2 Summer 2016

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

"Try All Balloons" by Sue Clancy
“Try All Balloons” by Sue Clancy

"Suddenly my Hair was Performance" by Sydney Tayler Colbert.
“Suddenly my Hair was Performance” by Sydney Tayler Colbert.

“Love Offers the World” by Sue Clancy

Poetry:
(Guest Edited by Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz)

M. L. Brown | When Girls Swim
Alexis Groulx | An afternoon with Cal
Rage Hezekiah | February Cove
Gopika Jadeja | Newsprint in the dark
Les Kay | Reprise, Nachtmusik
Barbara Krasner | Bei Mir Bistu Shayn

Laurie Macfee | Bone Music
Elisabeth Murawski | Never from Here
Leonard Neufeldt | Letters from the Ghetto
Valery V. Petrovskiy | On a town street
James Prenatt | Can I, may I?
Wesley Riggs | Even If

Beate Sigriddaughter | Bricks
Joseph Somoza | Natural Poetry
Jamie Wendt | When Amma had Four More Months

Fiction:

Beth Sherman | Between
Meg Tuite | Hollow Gestures 

Nonfiction:

Terry Barr | When the Truth Is Found
Stacy Lawson | It’s Just Sex
Kelsey Lahr | Coyote Nights
Zach Marson | They Knew the Land Was Beautiful 

Translations:

René Agostini | Walking along the Rhone | **June Sylvester Saraceno
Anna Akhmatova | After 23 Years | **Don Mager
Shatha Abu Hnaish | Alienation | **Francesca Bell & Noor Nader Al Abed
Jóanes Nielsen | Burnt Out Light | **Matthew Landrum
Rasool Yoonan | Fire and Human | Try | **Siavash Saadlou

Book Reviews:

Fabienne Josaphat | Dancing in the Baron’s Shadow | Review by Kelsey May
Lucia Cherciu | Edible Flowers | Review by Donelle Dreese

Spotlight on a Press:

Glass Lyre Press | Review by Nettie Farris


**Indicates Translators 

Issue 5.1 Spring 2016

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

"The Man Who Fell to Earth" by Carla Ciuffo
“The Man Who Fell to Earth” by Carla Ciuffo

The Artist At Work by Carla Ciuffo
The Artist At Work by Carla Ciuffo

"Pandoras Jar" by Carla Ciuffo
“Pandoras Jar” by Carla Ciuffo

Poetry: (Guest Edited by Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow)

Matthew James Babcock | The Fall Olympics | Sexual Limbo
Roy Bentley | Sugar Ray Robinson Leaning against His 1950 Pink Cadillac
Lynn Marie Houston | Jealousy | With Love to California, Now that I No Longer Live There
Lynn Levin | Spending Small Change | On Knowing One’s Goblet at the Banquet Table
Hillary Kobernick | Springing
Patrick McCarthy | Suspicion
Kendall Pakula | The Good Guest
Erin Redfern | Graduate School
Rakhshan Rizwan | Partition
stephanie roberts | People Believing Badly
Gerard Sarnat | 67% Hopperized Bathos

Fiction:

Michelle Elvy | Black and White and Grey
Mercedes Lawry | Sooner or Later
Heather Dewar | ID 

Nonfiction:

Susan Bloch | The Mumbai Massacre
Lisbeth Davidow | You Have to Get over the Color Green
Steven Wineman | Tear-Water Tea

Translations:

Ivonne Gordon Carrera | Tiger | **Cindy Rinne
Cesarco Eglin | Connotations | **Scott Spanbauer
Pablo Neruda | Past | **Domenic James Scopa

Book Reviews:

Paul David Adkins | Stick Up | Review by A.J. Huffman
Margaret Lazarus Dean | Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight | Review by Carla Sarett
Matthew Lippman | Salami Jew | Review by Neil Silberblatt

Spotlight on a Press:

Two of Cups Press | Review by Nettie Farris

**Indicates Translators

Issue 4.3 Fall 2015

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

"Bus in Pieces" by Dean West
“Bus in Pieces” by Dean West

"Ballerina Legs" by Caroline Allen
“Ballerina Legs” by Caroline Allen

"Blue on Green" by Kellie Talbot
“Blue on Green” by Kellie Talbot

Poetry: (Guest Edited by W.F. Lantry )

Gail C. DiMaggio | Girls in Pictures
Rosie Prohías Driscoll | Colando Café
Jeff Hardin | A Short Distance from Mountains
Ed Shacklee | Elephant Ear Plant
Mary Ann Sullivan | St. Catherine of Siena
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming | The Space Between The Rain
Lonnie Monka | my mistake
Ashley Parker Owens | Itch
Sophia Pandeya | Mona Lisa Postcard
Jane Wayne | His Shirt

Fiction:

Neil Carpathios | The Man with No Future
Katie Cortese | Quitting Time
Sherrie Flick | Now
Philip Kobylarz | What’s On The Other Side Of Doors 

Nonfiction:

Melissa Grunow | White Spirit
Rick Kempa | Honing the Edge
Sandell Morse | The Crossing

Translations:

Kurt Drawert | Personal Pronoun | **Paul-Henri Campbell
Louise Dupré | Stone Hands of the Tomb Figures | **Karen McPherson
Gili Haimovich | Signing a Place | What Lights Up the Sky | **Dara Barnat
Moyshe Kulbak | from Songs of a Poor Man | **Allison Davis

 

Book Reviews:

Sue Eisenfeld | Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal | Review by Donna M. Crow
Jeff Klima | L.A. Rotten | Review by Ginger Beck
Sandra Marchetti | Confluence | Review by Danielle Susi

 

**Indicates Translators

Issue 4.2 Summer 2015

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

Alexis Rhone Fancher. Man on the Metro Downtown L.A. 2013
“Man on the Metro, Downtown LA” by Alexis Rhone Fancher

"Old Man Walking After Midnight, Downtown L.A" by Alexis Rhone Fancher.
“Old Man Walking After Midnight, Downtown LA” by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Sandra Meek. Portrait Pisac Peru
“Portrait Pisac, Peru” by Sandra Meek

Poetry: (Guest Edited by Jason Koo)

Madeleine Barnes | In Harmonium
Emily Blair | The Deadly Years
J. Scott Brownlee | Ascension
Falconhead | I Have Set My Face Like Flint or The Misanthrope Goes Into Town
Peter Cole Friedman | The Perfect Phospholipids
Julie Hart | Resting Bitch Face
Tim Kahl | Tasking the Guardian
Christine Kitano | Lesson: Chicken Soup
Debora Kuan| Teen Ghost
Justin Maki | Watch
Derek Mong | An Ordinary Evening in San Francisco
Laura Plaster | Candids
Erin Redfern | Photograph of a Drugged Giraffe
Chris Roberts | What ever happened to the compass?
Sokunthary Svay | At Least Prostitutes Bring Home Money
Ed Toney | The Baptist Growl

Fiction:

Rahad Abir | Johnson Road
Ashley Cowger | Public Access
Emily Kiernan | Enola Gay
Charlie Sterchi | The Running Dog
 

Nonfiction: (Guest Edited by Suzanne Cope)

Robert Boucheron | Snowmelt
Ruth Z. Deming | We Look Out Windows
Sarah Pascarella | Swimming Lessons
Laura Rankin | Natural Neighbors


Translations:

Guillaume Apollinaire | Sadness of a Star | **Rebekah Curry
Javier Etchevarren | Lungs | **Don Bogen
Agustín Lucas | General Flores without Flowers | **Jesse Lee
Kercheval
Dimitra Kotoula | Case Study V (on Ethics) | **Maria Nazos 


Book Reviews:

Lowell Levant | A Poet Drives a Truck: Poems by and about Lowell A. Levant | review by Thomas Dukes
Michele Battiste | Uprising | review by Kayla Haas

**Indicates Translators

Issue 4.1 Spring 2015

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

"Station 14" Art by Jean Wolfe

“Station 14” Art by Jean Wolff

"Books and Dreams" Art by Jean Wolfe
“Books and Dreams”          Art by Jean Wolff

 

Poetry:
(Guest Edited by Judy Juanita)

Eugene H. Davis | Howl No More
Arika Elizenberry | Red Summer, 1919
Bridget Gage-Dixon | Hew Paints Crickets
Gail Goepfert | Revivify *runner up in our 2014 short-ish poetry contest*
Karen Greenbaum-Maya | My Uncle the Perfectionist
Kamden Hilliard | Hong Kong, Summer
Lowell Jaeger | A Salesman’s Song
David Kann | The Language of the Farm *runner up in our 2014 long-ish poetry contest*
Issa M. Lewis | The Catacomb Saints
Joel Lewis | Looking For Soup
Noorulain Noor | Chronology of Evil Eye
Jennifer Raha | Perennial | Resupination
Maryann Russo | Joe Redota Trail
Eva Schlesinger | With You in Hildesheim
Benjamin Schmitt | We were radicals
Bonnie Wai-Lee Kwong | Mother | A Day in British Hong Kong

Fiction:

Gordon Ball | The Breaking *runner up in our 2014 flash fiction contest
Marie Mayhugh | An Old Cowboy’s Dirge
Eliana Osborn | Turning Japanese

Nonfiction:

Caroline Allen | Little Woman
Sharon Goldberg | Let Us (Not) Pray
Grace Mattern | Granite
Lisa Romeo | Not Quite Meet-Cute

Translations:

Charles Baudelaire | The Clock | **Lola Haskins
Cyrille Fleischman | Monsieur Lekouved’s Revolt | **Lynn Palermo
Imanova Günel | Untitled | **Arturo Desimone
Marcel Lecomte | The Schoolmaster | Number | **K. A. Wisniewski

Book Reviews:

Robert Cooperman | Just Drive | review by Barry Marks
Justin Hamm | Lessons in Ruins | review by Karen J Weyant
Jamaal May | Hum | review by Susan Cohen

**Indicates Translators

"Sphene" Art by Jean Wolfe
“Sphere” Art by Jean Wolff

 

FlipBook

“Flipbook” Art by Jean Wolff

Issue 3.6 Fall 2014

Theme Issue: Far From The Maddening Crowd

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

Schoolbus
“Schoolbus” Art by Holly Burnside

Seattle 2
“Seattle 2” Art by Angel Lacanfora

Cases
“Cases” Art by Angel Lacanfora

Nonfiction:

Marlena Maduro Baraf | La Misa
Therése Halscheid | Into the Iceberg
Anne Liu Kellor | Sky Burial
Linda Saslow | The Shiksa Sisterhood

Translations:

Rivka Basman Ben-Haim | Doves Speak Yiddish | **Zelda Kahan Newman
Yves Bonnefoy | He Is Leaving | **Susanna Lang
Hafez | Ghazal 6 | **Roger Sedarat
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi | Untitled | **Roger Sedarat
Avrom Sutzkever | From Diary Poems | **Zackary Sholem Berger
Carmen Vascones | How lonely love remains | **Alexis Levitin

Book Reviews:

Helène Aylon | Whatever is Contained Must be Released: My Jewish Orthodox Girlhood, My Life as a Feminist Artist | review by Lenore Weiss
Tarfia Faizullah | Seam | Paul David Adkins
Sue William Silverman | The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as A White Anglo-Saxon Jew | review by Kelly O’Toole

**Indicates Translators

Issue 3.4 Summer 2014

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

"Think" Art by Tommy Ingberg
“Think” Art by Tommy Ingberg

"Passage" Art by Tommy Ingberg
“Passage” Art by Tommy Ingberg

"Hollow" Art by Tommy Ingberg
“Hollow” Art by Tommy Ingberg

Poetry:

Isaac Black | Hiroshima
Charlie Bondhus | Jeffrey Dahmer Talks to His Father
Bill Brown | Ladders
Ruth Foley | Benthos | Consolation
Risa Denenberg | Tisha B’av
Anthony Frame | Everything I Know I Learned from Kermit the Frog
Denise Low | Garden of William Burroughs | Crop Duster Plane
Cindy Hunter Morgan | Columbia, 1859
Elisabeth Murawski | The Birthday Party
Jean Nordhaus | On the Road to Qumran
Lee Slonimsky | Pythagoras’s Bees | Mid-Autumn Languages of Trees
Cheryl Snell | Reinventing the Wheel

Fiction:

Migara de Silva | Of Fences-
Mike Koenig | The Lost Ones
Robert Joe Stout | A Big and Wonderful Now
Leslie Santikian | An Old Fashioned Voice

Nonfiction:

Kurt Caswell | Haboob
Sigrid Erro | Bones
Danusha Goska | Star Tattoo

J.W. Young | Big Dumb Baby

Translations:

Katrine Marie Guldager | The Car Accident | **Lindy Falk van Rooyen
Fernando Valverde | Snow Covered Landscape | ** Liam Walke 

Spotlight on an Artist:

Richard Tuschman

Book Reviews:

Christopher Lowe | When You’re Down By The River | review by B. Kari Moore
Jake Marmer | Jazz Talmud | review by Shlomo Liberman

Jake Adam York | Abide | review by Simon Seamount

**Indicates translators

Issue 3.2 Spring 2014

Click on a title to read an author’s work(s) and bio. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and on Twitter using #BlueLyra. Also, consider leaving a comment for everyone to read.

"The Thirsty Cup" Art by Lara Zankoul
“The Thirsty Cup” Art by Lara Zankoul

"Midnight" Art by Rose Blouin
“Midnight” Art by Rose Blouin

"The Thirsty Cup 2" Art by Lara Zankoul
“The Thirsty Cup 2” Art by Lara Zankoul

 

Poetry:

Lucille Lang Day | Rituals | I Am Afraid
Julie R. Enszer | Imperfect
Natalie Fisher | Watering the Roses
Kayla Haas | Another Tamarind Night
Cheryl Anne Latuner | What Rests in the Earth
Hart L’Ecuyer | Carnival in Neosho, Missouri | A Subway in New York with Hart Crane
Zvi A. Sesling | Excerpt from the Inquisition
Adrienne Su | Procrastination
Wally Swist | Dinner with Camus
Donna Vorreyer | Finding A Way | Instructions for Stones

 

Fiction:

Sara Henning  | Cutting It Down
R A Santos  | Body in Hands
Sarah Seltzer  | Disorder

 

Book Reviews:

Rutu Modan | The Property | review by Maya Klein
Elaine Starkman | Hearing Beyond Sound | review by Zara Raab

Nonfiction:

Balvinder Banga | Bare Footed Dreams of my Father
Ellen Brooks | Dayenu
Susan Knox | Autumn Life
Tom Leskiw | Family Matters

 

Translations:

Edna Aphek | My Father
Moshe Dor | Old People Talking | **Barbara Goldberg
Inna Kabysh | Triptych | **Katherine E Young
Kim Myung Won | 49th Day | On the Road | **EJ Koh

 

Spotlight on an Artist:

Vanessa Marsh

 

 

**Indicates translators


Vanessa Marsh

TwoCarsandaLamppost

Spotlight on an Artist: Vanessa Marsh

 

Vanessa Marsh is a visual artist from Seattle Washington now living and working in Oakland, CA. Although the end result of most of her work is photography, she engages with drawing, painting and sculpture to create her images. She has received fellowships from Headlands Center for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony and Kala Art Institute. Her work can be seen at Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco, CA, Kala Gallery in Berkeley, CA and Julie Nester Gallery in Park City, UT.

Artist Statement:

Always Close But Never Touching 

WomanWalkingTo make the images, I construct miniature scenes out of models and natural elements such as moss and grass and photograph them against real backgrounds. Inspiration for the scenes is drawn from memories of human interactions and the experiences of the landscapes of Northern California and Western Washington.

The specific details of the memories have been transformed over time in my mind—influenced by subsequent observations, events, and occurrences. As memory is a combination of both real and imagined elements so too are the photographs. Alluding to different locations and experiences simultaneously, the images are of unknown, imagined places yet are also evocative of something familiar. Ultimately, the images reference a shared experience of isolation. 

I create dreamlike spaces that are at once anonymous and entirely personal. Rooted in imagination and memory the images represent locations that are suspended in both time and place, with no before or after. 

San Francisco 2008

Everywhere All at Once 

Sometimes there is a hazy, almost tropical light that falls over the Bay Area. The moisture in the air falls on the landscape and makes it appear as a series of two-dimensional planes intricately layered together. When I see this light, I imagine these individual planes of landscape each moving freely along independent trajectories. In my imagination, the landscape becomes one of dislocated landmarks, geography and infrastructure, constantly changing. Within the series Everywhere All at Once I bring to form these imagined landscapes and combine them with intensely starlit skies, highlighting both a personal as well as a collective experience of the world. My goal is to make images that are familiar and dreamlike, evocative of an almost unreachable memory. 

Looking out over the landscape the night sky provides a reminder of the smallness of our existence and also the vast possibilities inherent to our experience. It provides a connection between distant individuals, a jumping off point for belief systems, and an interstellar reference that helps us to navigate our world. For me, more than anything, the night sky provides a sense of space and infinity that is at once the essence of openness and possibility and also terrifyingly complex and unfathomable. 

I remember as a child the first time I looked intently out into a starry sky. I was away at summer camp up in the San Juan Islands and we were sleeping outside in a field by our cabin. It was dark enough to see the Milky Way; so dense it looked like a large smudge of light across the sky. Our counselor explained to us that the light we were seeing took so much time and crossed so much space that the stars it was coming from may not even exist anymore. I don’t remember when I fell asleep that night, but I know it was awhile that I lay there staring up, my heart pounding, realizing the vastness. 

-Vanessa Marsh, Oakland, 2014


Bikers

 

Landscape#12

 

Image Info:

Vanessa Marsh, Two Cars and a Lamp Post, from the series Always Close But Never Touching
Vanessa Marsh, Woman Walking, from the series Always Close But Never Touching
Vanessa Marsh, Bikers, from the series Always Close But Never Touching
Vanessa Marsh, Landscape #8, from the series Everywhere All at Once
Vanessa Marsh, Landscape #12 from the series Everywhere All at Once

Rutu Modan

Rutu Modan. The Property book coverThe Property
by Rutu Modan
Hardcover: 232 pages

Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (May 14, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1770461159
ISBN-13: 978-1770461154
Reviewed by Maya Klein 

 

Appropriating Memory

“To find something, you have to know what you are looking for,” says a character in The Property, the second full-length graphic novel by acclaimed artist and writer, Rutu Modan. The novel makes this assumption, along with numerous others, and subjects it to a form of scrutiny that is original to Modan – playful, while at the same time, remarkably telling.

The story follows Mica, a young Israeli woman, and her elderly grandmother Regina as they take a week-long trip to Warsaw to reclaim property owned by Regina’s family before World War II. Regina is the quintessential “Polish Lady”: prickly, mercurial, and oftentimes impossible; she is also an intelligent, loving grandparent and has an irresistibly dark sense of humor. Her granddaughter, Mica, possesses the same quick temper and sharp wit, and she is as gutsy, sarcastic and smart as she ought to be, even demonstrating her expertise in “Krav Maga,” a self-defense system.

Modan’s use of the medium is virtuoso; her talent in depicting visual detail – a slipped bra strap, a messenger-bag, or just the right pantsuit – is coupled with the manner in which she writes dialogue, expertly navigating the voices through three languages – Hebrew, English and Polish, which are denoted by changes in font. Each language is given its own particular, authentic inflection. For example, when Regina is stopped by Israeli airport security on account of her water bottle, she attacks the guard and says, “Rules – were they handed down to Moses at Mount Sinai?”

At their best, graphic novels delve deep into weighty issues, almost sneaking up on the reader with their significance, and The Property proves no exception. Like Spiegelman in his seminal MAUS (despite his reluctance to being cast in the role, Spiegelman is largely considered the father of the modern graphic novel), and like Satrapi in Persepolis, Modan makes full use of the freedom that the genre entails. In this deceptively quick read, potentially explosive issues relating to individual and national identity, history, and politics are all depicted in simple and convincing frames.

First, the novel raises the ethical dilemma regarding the legitimacy of using personal stories – taking real people’s pain – and turning it into art. This question is exacerbated when dealing with trauma that is both personal and collective, such as the Holocaust. The love affair that Mica has with Tomasz, a Polish artist whom she meets in Warsaw, brings the matter to light. Tomasz is working on a graphic novel, a rendering of the events of World War II from the Polish perspective. When Mica discovers that he has in fact been sketching her grandmother’s story, she becomes infuriated and suspicious, fearing Tomasz is merely using her to realize his artistic ambitions. He apologizes, but Mica, flinging his flowers in the trash, mutters, “I forgive but I don’t forget.”

Worldly and intelligent, Mica chooses words that are steeped in Holocaust discourse. The staying power of the narrative, the collective trauma and also, arguably, the sense of victimhood, persist in Israeli culture; they are closely tied to notions of personal identity and infiltrate the most intimate relationships. Through the character of Tomasz, the novel also seems to be asking ethical questions: Who is authorized to tell a story? And from which point of view? Does it really belong to anyone?

Indeed, the “property” that this graphic novel is concerned with undergoes a complete and comprehensive reconfiguration. As in English, the Hebrew word for property, “neches,” is also frequently used in its verb form, “lenaches” – to appropriate – and the journey that Regina and Mica take towards rightful ownership or re-appropriation is complex precisely because it does not merely pertain to tangible property.

An opening scene depicts the women’s flight to Warsaw. The plane is packed with rowdy high-school students on an educational tour of the concentration camps. When asked as to the purpose of their own trip, Regina and Mica adamantly deny that they are on any kind of “roots journey”: they say that their trip is purely business. The women are careful to set themselves apart from the sort of “concentration camp tourism” that is subject to scathing irony from Modan. The teenagers are going wild on the plane, one of them wearing a “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” t-shirt, while another has “The March of Life, 2008” emblazoned on her back. Their schoolteacher nonchalantly ticks off the itinerary while munching on his breakfast roll. “Let’s see. . . Monday – Treblinka, Tuesday – Madjanek, gas chambers, etc. Personally, I prefer Madjanek to Auschwitz. It’s much scarier.”

Modan illustrates how the real horrors of war are subjected to the mechanisms of memorialization that are unable to do them justice. Memory and tragedy are appropriated, not by the artist figure (like Tomasz or perhaps Modan herself) but by a system, such as the Israeli educational system which has been entrusted to maintaining them. The result is a warped, flattened representation, with educators looking to frighten their disinterested young audiences into submission. Furthermore, as indicated by the re-enactment scene in the Jewish ghetto, the need to constantly up the ante, to titillate audiences so that they can experience “the real thing” is not limited to Israeli culture, or to desensitized youth thrice removed from the events. The desire to have an authentic experience of trauma results in grotesque farce. Hence, sighs the overzealous director of the society for Jewish memorialization, “I miss the ghetto.”

Though not stated explicitly, this issue is particularly relevant to politics and the Israeli political milieu, where Holocaust narratives and notions of victimhood have often been employed and are reintroduced on a regular basis. Examining the appropriation of memory is also an implicit form of critiquing the political forces that work to sustain them, and which perhaps, also benefit from their proliferation. The graphic novel, as a seemingly innocent form, provides a perfect vehicle for such a controversial message within the context of Jewish, and particularly, Israeli culture. In this sense, the book continues in the tradition of subversive graphic novels and uses its medium wisely, with striking imagery and heavy doses of irony.

The Property is undoubtedly a good book. It is included on more than ten best-of- the-year lists, including those of The Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly, Salon, Amazon, and The Washington Post. It is well-deserving of the praise it has received. However, it is also an important book, illuminating the culture and the politics of appropriation that are at play within it.

In the end, in a final twist of irony, the protagonists reconnect with their pasts and uncover deep family secrets, but in the process, they relinquish the property that they came to claim, proving that sometimes, in order to find something, you have to give up what you were looking for.

 ––––––––
Maya Klein is a writer and translator based in Tel Aviv. Her fiction has appeared in The Ilanot Review and The Literarian.

 

 

Susan Bee

Susan Bee: Out the Window
Out the Window

 

Spotlight on Artist: Susan Bee

 

Susan Bee: Trouble Ahead
Trouble Ahead

Bio:
Susan Bee is a painter, editor, and book artist, living in New York City. She has a solo painting show, “Criss Cross: New Paintings,” up until June 29 at Accola Griefen Gallery, NY. Bee has had six solo shows at A.I.R. Gallery. She has published many artist’s books including collaborations with Charles Bernstein, Johanna Drucker, Susan Howe, Regis Bonvicino, Jerry Rothenberg, and Jerome McGann. Bee is the coeditor with Mira Schor of M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online. Her artwork is in many public and private collections including the Getty Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Yale University, New York Public Library, and the Harvard University Library. Her work has been reviewed in Art in America, Art News, The Forward, The New York Times, Art Papers, and The Brooklyn Rail. Bee teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Visual Arts.

 

Susan Bee: Wherever You Go
Wherever You Go

Artist Statement:
The series of oil paintings that I have been working on recently is based on stills from films, mostly noirs. These primarily small oil paintings dramatize the relationships between male and female characters through the lens of the dark, violent films of the 1940s and 1950s. These new works concentrate on complexity, sensuality, dramatic tension, and strong emotions. I am creating these paintings as spaces for a drama to take place. I’m emphasizing the dynamic between the figures, whether they’re pressing against a windowpane, or pressing up against each other. The paintings’ focus is on these relationships and the psychological space and emotions that are carved out among the persons that I’m portraying.

 

Ahava, Berlin
Ahava, Berlin

Ahava, Berlin, was inspired by a trip I made in 2012 to Berlin. I stayed near the former Ahava Kinderheim, located in the Mitte, which was the Jewish ghetto, and is now an arts district. It was a politically progressive Jewish children’s home. My mother lived there from 1927 to 1934. Both my parents grew up in Berlin and were exiled in their teens to Palestine. I based this painting on a melancholy snapshot of me standing in front of the war-scarred, graffitied building, which remains standing as a testament to the suffering of the Jewish population in Germany. The orphanage and most of the children were transferred to Israel, where Ahava, (Hebrew for love) continues to this day.

Website:

http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/bee/

Image Info:

Susan Bee, Out the Window, 2011, 16″ x 20″, oil and enamel on linen.
Susan Bee, Wherever You Go, 2013, 24″ x 36″, oil on canvas.
Susan Bee, Trouble Ahead, 2012, 20″ x 24″, oil on canvas.
Susan Bee, Ahava, Berlin, 2012, 24″ x 36″, oil, enamel, and sand on canvas.

Premiere Issue

Issue 1.1: Summer 2012

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“Photosynthesis” Photo by Gin Conn

 

“Gray with Warm Lights”
Photo by Robin Grotke