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< Poetry >


Poems, Titles and Letters to the Dead

by James Magee
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Internationally acclaimed artist James Magee (alleged doppelganger of equally acclaimed artist Annabel Livermore) reinvents himself one more time as poet.

Product Details

10-digit ISBN1-941026-98-4
13-digit ISBN978-1-941026-98-4
Page Count128
Publication DateApril 22, 2019
RightsAll Rights Available
Why is Carl Jung dancing in the Streets of Death? Because one of his favorites among the living—artist James Magee, the creator of the colossal desert stonework, The Hill, and “the alleged” anima incarnate of the mysterious artist Annabel Livermore—has concocted this brew of poems and letters from the lands of Ordinary and Surreal. The poems flutter like butterflies from his imagination as he creates large steel assemblages. Weirdly, Letters to Goya are found pieces from 1955, from the rickety typewriter of the Duchess of Alba, who in (sur)real life is an old lady who wheel-chairs around the Waikiki Trailer Park in Sweetwater, Texas. Are the letters real? Well, yes. And no!

About James Magee
In 1980, the incredibly prolific American artist (and now published poet) James Magee rooted himself in El Paso and Juarez on the U.S. Mexico Border. Michigan-born, Ivy League-educated to be a lawyer, gender-fluid, ex-taxi driver and oil field roughneck, Magee made his home on the border because he had work to do, big work, big visionary work, and the frontera was a place to be alone to do that work, away from all the jingle-jangle of the NYC arts scene. Besides, he could cross the border and hang in the gay and transgender bars, he could live any life he wanted to live, and he could be the artist (or artists) he wanted to be. The place radiated renegade freedom. And it was a cheap place to be an artist.

Mcgee bought 2,000 acres in the desert wilderness east of El Paso and began creating The Hill, a massive stonework on the scale of Stonehenge, his on-going opus of the last four decades. He also created large metal collages, ornately framed, which he “titled” with remarkable poems.

And then the artist Annabel Livermore (a retired Mid-Western librarian) sprang from Magee’s imagination like Athena sprang from the mind of Zeus. Annabel was not to be alone. Horace Mayfield, a gay artist, likewise sprang fully formed from the same imagination. Annabel lives in one house, Horace lives in another, and Magee migrates between the two. (Mayfield’s house, it should be noted, is outfitted for wheel-chair access because along the way Magee lost both legs to disease. It didn’t slow him down, thanks to prosthetics and incredible determination.)

The sculptures and paintings of James Magee and Annabel Livermore (and more recently, Horace Mayfield) have been presented in major exhibitions across the United States, Mexico and Europe. Magee’s The Hill is quickly becoming an art aficionado’s destination, except visits are rare and managed by The Cornudas Foundation. The Smithsonian recently acquired Magee’s archives. All the while, James Magee traveled the country, performing his “Titles” (aka, poems) in collaboration with contemporary classical and experimental musicians, like cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, formerly of the Kronus Quartet.

Beth Henley, Pulitzer-winning playwright, screenwriter and actress
“James Magee’s Letters to Goya journeys through a profound, absurd, hilarious, pornographic landscape of life and death. The poems and letters cross time and space, veering backwards and forward, inward and outward, evoking mystic illumination. A mind-warp. A miracle. A gift.”
- August 15, 2018 
New York Journal of Books
"This collection is an adventure in itself…Magee impresses with his concrete imagery, lyrical counterpoint, and subtle internal rhyme schemes."
- Lew J. Whittington, January 7, 2019  Visit Website
full review >>
Lone Star Literary Life
"[The book] spans several centuries, geographical spaces, and voices…Each turn of the page is a new vision, a new letter, a new voice, a new love note, crumpled and thrown out, picked up, and reimagined. Time and space are confused, and the physical realities of the pages are confronted with our imagination."
- Francois Pointeau, September 8, 2019  Visit Website
full review >>
Click here to view all the reviews

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