Tag Archives: year by year poems

“Year by Year: Poems” Featured in Type Network

10 great book covers using TN fonts
by Lucas Czarnecki
November 20, 2021
https://www.typenetwork.com/news/article/10-great-book-covers-using-tn-fonts

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but cover designers strive to help readers forget that advice. Here are ten excellent covers that prove the importance of high quality typefaces and typography.

When designing a book cover, you have only a few elements at your disposal: the title and subtitle, the author’s name, fonts, colors, and illustration. Obviously—and this is proven by a visit to your local bookstore—there are only so many ways to combine these elements. When designed poorly, a good book can be lost in the shuffle. When designed well, though—with attention to type, color, and layout—hidden gems can become best sellers.

Since our foundry partners are in the business of creating the highest quality typefaces, it follows that their work would show up on some of the best book cover designs. After looking on our shelves, Type Network staff have picked out ten excellent book covers that use foundry partner typefaces, all of which are available through our catalog:

Year by Year: Poems by Lynne Sachs
Study by XYZ Type and Freight Sans by Garage Fonts

Using Study by XYZ Type and Freight Sans by Garage Fonts, this finely doodled cover (created through a collaboration between Sachs and designer Abby Goldstein) cleverly introduces the main content of the book: handwritten poetry over the years. The subdued color palette of black, white, and coral pink draw attention to the type in the bottom right.

Study and Freight Sans both serve well here for their humanist yet refined traits. The book’s interior balances type with handwriting, so firmer or more constructed typefaces might have drained the personality from the book.

Setting the title in all-caps adds prominence and stature, and even though they are tracked out very far, the colored letters of Freight Sans remain legible. Setting “Lynne Sachs” in Study’s calligraphic Italic adds even further warmth to the cover.


The Nightwatches of Bonaventura translated by Gerald Gillespie
Fakir by Underware Type

From the publisher’s website: “First published in German in 1804, under the nom de plume ‘Bonaventura’, The Nightwatches of Bonaventura is a dark, twisted, and comic novel, one part Poe and one part Beckett.”

This cover, for the 2014 University of Chicago Press edition, was designed by Matt Avery and uses Fakir by foundry partner Underware Type and PMN Caecilia by Linotype.

Selecting to set the title in a blackletter like Fakir evokes the early 19-th century German origin of the book; meanwhile, Fakir’s low contrast, sharp cuts, and straight lines draw the reader back into the modern age. The placement (on the other side of a window) and blur on the title “allude to the [book’s] macabre and voyeuristic themes,” writes Stephen Coles.

How to create typefaces by Cristóbal Henestrosa, Laura Meseguer, and José Scaglione
Multi by Type-Ø-Tones

For the English translation of Tipo E’s Cómo crear tipografías, designers Elena Veguillas and Laura Meseguer chose to keep the original’s use of Multi for the title. The cover, bright orange and clear in its content, is a good example of honest, unfussy design.

Multi, published by partner foundry Type-Ø-Tones, was originally commissioned for Dutch newspapers and comes with a factual tone. Choosing to set the title in Multi Display Poster Italic, however, adds a sense of levity. For the target audience, who resent anything too playful and resist anything too dry, the cover (and title) of How to create typefaces strikes a good balance.


Ha, daar gaat er een van mij! (Ha, there goes one of mine!) by Jan Middendorp
Productus by TYPETR

Middendorp’s account of graphic design in the Hague in the latter half of the 20th century is titled after a quote from “R.D.E. Oxenaar, a long-time consultant to the Dutch Mail and designer of Dutch banknotes, who was referring to the agreeable sensation of seeing one’s work come by in daily life,” according to the back cover.

The large “Ha,” combined with the yellow background and white and green quotation marks makes a bold impression and leaves the audience wanting to know more. Designed by Huug Schipper, the cover’s abnormal color palette and its use of the chiseled Productus by foundry partner TYPETR help it stand out in bookshelves and Amazon lists.

Productus is a fitting choice, as the book’s local Dutch focus all but demands a Dutch typeface to accommodate it. Productus does not simply satisfy that requirement, but—at such a large scale—its finer details shine as decidedly Dutch.


O Rio antes do Rio by Rafael Freitas da Silva
Guanabara Sans by Plau

O Rio antes do Rio culminates three years of research into Rio de Janeiro’s pre-colonization history. The cover, designed by Babilônia Editorial, features both Guanabara Sans by foundry partner Plau and Pollen by TypeTogether.

The die-cut letterforms of Guanabara Sans Black reveal an engraving “depicting Rio’s early natives,” hinting to the interior’s robust illustrations. Guanabara Sans Black is big enough for this die-cut technique, while its contrasting Thin weight and the green background combine to create a dynamic and active cover, necessary for a broad-audience history book.


James Joyce series, Vintage Classics
Poetica by Adobe Originals

Published in 2013, this series of covers by Peter Mendelsund for a collection of Joyce’s best literature uses simple, solid colors with Poetica by foundry partner Adobe Originals in off white with thick, handwritten additions over top.

The contrast between Poetica’s flowing yet refined curves and the abrupt black markings reflect both sides of Joyce’s enigmatic writing, mixing the deeply constructed and referential with the eminently human and flawed. The cover for Ulysses was included in the Best Book Covers of 2013 by the New York Times; its handwritten “YES” brilliantly alludes to the character Molly Bloom’s closing soliloquy:

…and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.


The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
Garage Gothic by Frere-Jones Type

A bold title needs a bold font, so when Time Warner Books published The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler in 2001, their designer chose Garage Gothic by foundry partner Frere-Jones Type. The book, which centers female sexuality and its complexity and beauty, didn’t require a loud cover, but one that put the word out there, simply and strongly.

Garage Gothic, unlike other tall, bold gothics, possesses an unvarnished quality; its weathered edges match the cover photo’s heavy shadows, recalling Ensler’s performance version of the title. Garage Gothic is “built from matter-of-fact geometry and softened by hasty printing,” making it perfect for big pronouncements that aren’t cut-and-dry.

Gute Aussichten. New German Photography 2013/14


Damien by Revolver Type

Designed by agency Pixelgarten, Gute Aussichten is an annual catalog of the best images by young German photographers. The cover pairs Damien by foundry partner Revolver Type with an intentionally unsettling photo of a foot sole being stuck with a needle.

Damien designer Lukas Schneider wrote that the typeface “evolved from a personal preference for pointy shapes, high contrast and straightforwardness,” all of which can be seen in Gute Aussichten’s cover and interior. Its sharp cuts, diamond-shaped details, and alternating rounded and flat curves imbue the cover with a sense of activity, like something more is going to happen.


Finnmarksvidda by Stein P. Aasheim
Satyr by Monokrom

Cataloging the journey of three winters in the interior of Finnmark, Aasheim’s Finnmarksvidda introduces a new literary genre—skietnography—which combines aspects of nature experience, ski expedition, and encounters with indigenous people and culture. The cover, designed by Erlend Askhov, features a section of watery map and uses Satyr by foundry partner Monokrom and FF Legato by FontFont.

The colors—light blue, off white, and dark red—feel at home on the map, while the absence of green and the long red line indicate the desolate, tundra-like environment against which the author’s very human journey takes place. Satyr fits here for both its flowing seriousness in roman and its calligraphic humanism in italic. The title, thanks to its K and V, demonstrates Satyr’s italic most beautifully; meanwhile, the subtitle’s casual introduction of neologism skietnografisk shows off Satyr’s open-looped g and classic fi ligature.


Luchtfietsen (Treading Air) by Jaan Kross
Bodega Serif by Greg Thompson

This cover of Harvill Press’s 2003 edition of Jaan Kross’s acclaimed Luchtfietsen was designed by Tessa van der Waals. The underrated designer and book caretaker decided to use a gloomy Estonian painting, setting the title across the top in bright blue Bodega Serif by foundry partner Greg Thompson.

Bodega Serif, originally released in 1990, borrows several ideas from the high period of Art Deco, adding a nostalgic European charm to the book’s ironic title and tragic content—an apt contrast reflected in the cover art itself.

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The Flow Chart Foundation presents “Films + Poems = Lynne Sachs”

Films + Poems = Lynne Sachs
The Flow Chart Foundation
https://www.flowchartfoundation.org/events-public-programs-2021
Monday, September 13, 6 – 7PM (EDT), via zoom


Filmmaker/poet Lynne Sachs will share a selection of short films and read selections from her poetry collection Year by Year Poems (Tender Buttons Press). This free public event precedes an encore presentation of our Text Kitchen workshop—Frames & Stanzas: Video Poems, which begins the next day, Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The Flow Chart Foundation explores poetry and the interrelationships of various art forms as guided by the legacy of American poet John Ashbery. Through programs for both general and scholarly audiences showcasing innovative work by a diversity of artists of various kinds, The Flow Chart Foundation celebrates Ashbery and his art as an inspirational and generative force. We see poetry in particular as a conduit to exploration, questioning, and resistance to the status quo, and work to offer new ways to engage with it and its interplay with other artistic modes.

On Year by Year: Poems:
“The whole arc of a life is sketched movingly in this singular collection. These poems have both delicacy and grit.  With the sensitive eye for details that she has long brought to her films, Lynne Sachs shares, this time on the page, her uncanny observations of moments on the fly, filled with longings, misses, joys and mysterious glimpses of a pattern of meaning underneath it all.”  —Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body and Against Joie de Vivre

“The highly acclaimed filmmaker Lynne Sachs is also a captivating and surprising poet. Year by Year distills five decades into lyric, a lustrous tapestry woven of memory, wisdom, cultural apprehension and the delicate specificities of lived life.”  —Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs and When the World Was Steady


“In Year by Year, Lynne Sachs selects and distills from larger fields of notation, acute scenes representing her life and the world she was born into. Her measured, spare account brings her to an understanding and acceptance of the terrible and beautiful fact that history both moves us and moves through us, and, more significantly, how by contending with its uncompromising force, we define an ethics that guides our fate.” —Michael Collier author of Dark Wild Realm


Since the 1980s, Lynne Sachs has created cinematic works that defy genre through the use of hybrid forms and cross-disciplinary collaboration, incorporating elements of the essay film, collage, performance, documentary and poetry. Her highly self-reflexive films explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences. With each project, Lynne investigates the implicit connection between the body, the camera, and the materiality of film itself. Lynne discovered her love of filmmaking while living and studying in San Francisco where she worked closely with artists Craig Baldwin, Bruce Conner, Barbara Hammer, Gunvor Nelson, and Trihn T. Min-ha. During this time, she produced her early, experimental works on celluloid which took a feminist approach to the creation of images and writing— a commitment which has grounded her body of work ever since. In tandem with making films, Lynne is also deeply engaged with poetry. In 2019, Tender Buttons Press published Lynne’s first book Year by Year Poems.

From essay films to hybrid docs to diaristic shorts, Sachs has produced 40 films as well as numerous projects for web, installation, and performance. She has tackled topics near and far, often addressing directly the challenge of translation — from one language to another or from spoken work to image. These tensions were investigated most explicitly between 1994 and 2006, when Lynne produced five essay films that took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel, Italy and Germany—sites affected by international war–where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions. 

Over her career, Sachs has been awarded support from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation. Her films have screened at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, Wexner Center for the Arts, the Walker and the Getty, and at festivals including New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, Punto de Vista, DocAviv, and DocLisboa. Retrospectives of her work have been presented at the Museum of the Moving Image, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, Festival International Nuevo Cine in Havana, and China Women’s Film Festival. Her 2019 film “A Month of Single Frames” won the Grand Prize at Oberhausen Festival of Short Films in 2020.  In 2021, both the Edison Film Festival and the Prismatic Ground Film Festival at the Maysles Documentary Center awarded Lynne for her body of work in the experimental and documentary fields. 

“Year by Year” Featured in Sukhdev Sandhu’s Top 10 Books at Light Industry

Bookshop.org
Light Industry
https://bookshop.org/lists/top-10-sukhdev-sandhu

We invited a few friends to choose ten titles from Light Industry’s bookshop, a selection of their personal favorites.

Sukhdev Sandhu directs the Colloquium for Unpopular Culture at New York University and runs the Texte und Töne publishing imprint


A Postilion Struck by Lightening – Dirk Bogarde

The Art of Smallfilms: The Work of Olver Postgate and Peter Firmin – Richard Embray (Editor)  Jonny Truck (Editor)  Stewart Lee (Introduction by)

Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad

Cinema Eden: Essays from the Muslim Mediterranean – Juan Goytisolo (Author)

M/W: An Essay on Jean Eustache’s La Maman Et La Putain – Matt Longabucco

Year by Year Poems – Lynne Sachs

Montage: Life, Politics, and Cinema – Mrinal Sen

Scandinavian Blue: The Erotic Cinema of Sweden and Denmark in the 1960s and 1970s – Jack Stevenson

“Everything That Surrounds Us Becomes Part of Us” – Screening, Reading & Workshop at SF Public Library

Author: Lynne Sachs, Poetry Readings Film Screening and Writing Workshop 
“Everything That Surrounds Us Becomes Part of Us”
Thursday 1/21/ 2021 6- 9PM PST – Zoom 
https://sfpl.org/events/2021/01/21/author-lynne-sachs-poetry-reading-film-screening-writing-workshop

Workshop featuring special guest, artist Ann Hamilton

On Thursday night I will read from my recent poetry book Year by Year Poems (Tender Buttons Press) and screen film. I have invited artist ANN HAMILTON to join us to speak about her 1996 SF library installation where she asked local community people to annotate the catalogue cards which “embody the heart of the public library art collection – the text that is folded between the covers of the books and buried within the library stacks.” This is one of the most interesting and resonate examples of socially engaged art that I have ever seen. Very excited to talk with Ann and with the audience.This is also a workshop so all participants will be encouraged to write and interact. Yes, it’s virtual. Sign up and you will receive a Zoom invite.

Thanks to poetry librarian and arts enthusiast John Smalley, librarians Jaime Wong and Anissa Malady


Acclaimed poet and filmmaker Lynne Sachs reads from her recent book Year by Year Poems, a collection of 50 poems which began as a half-century marker in the author’s life. Sachs will also screen her film, Tip of My Tongue, which was based on these same poems. At the end of the screening, participants will be encouraged to write one poem in response to a chosen year in their own life.

Lynne Sachs is a filmmaker and poet who explores the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences. Sachs has made thirty-five films which have screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art and more. In early 2020, her newest movie, Film About a Father Who, will premiere on opening night at the Slamdance Film Festival and in NYC at the Museum of Modern Art.’

About the Film “In Tip of My Tongue, eleven New Yorkers, including Sachs herself, born in the early 1960s ‘visit’ every year of their lives in a brash, self-reflexive experiment to create a film on what it’s meant to live in America over the last half century. Through poetry and flashes of archival footage, the past is ‘unearthed, turned over and reconsidered in new and astonishing ways.'” (Museum of Modern Art)

About the Book Year by Year Poems feature graceful, diaristic poems, successfully distilling events and themes in the poet’s life and simultaneously, magically, reflect larger movements of history and culture. Intimate and imagistic, the poems unfold a series of miniature stories with sensuous rhythms, telling visual detail and gentle humor.

“Year by Year Poems” on Filmwax TV with Filmmaker & Poet Lynne Sachs –

The experimental filmmaker and emerging poet, Lynne Sachs, returns to Filmwax to discuss a free virtual event taking place this evening, Wednesday, December 2nd at 6:30 PM Pacific / 9:30 PM Eastern. Lynne will be reading from her debut collection, “Year by Year Poems”, and shares some of her recent short films. Register at www.beyondbaroque.org/calendar.html

Lynne lives with her husband, the filmmaker Mark Street, in Brooklyn and is a regular guest on the Filmwax Radio podcast.

“Happy Birthday Twice”, a Pandemitime Poem and Three Images By Lynne Sachs

November 30, 2020
By Robert Fredkenter
https://icefloepress.net/2020/11/30/happy-birthday-twice-a-pandemitime-poem-and-three-images-by-lynne-sachs/

“Happy Birthday Twice” – A Pandemitime Poem

October 4, 2020

Stretched Time 
Maya and Noa home
our two daughters in their beds
again
Here there all at once. Child and adult.
Temporal inversions.

Inside this terrifying middle
eating Mark’s slow dinners slowly
Warm bread, just ripe fruit
delivered by a woman with her own daughters
sleeping in their own beds.

Revisiting each day of an opening act
March 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Friday the 13th
Where I was intending to be and where I was.

Narrative of an unwinding.
The city is ours.
The city owns us.
56 days in captivity so far.
My father calls it the Velcro padlock.
Fear
the only real authority —
when to stay and when to go.

Pages I’ve read as a measure of time
almonds eaten,
cleaning surfaces
cleaning again
bleach and more bleach
again

Masks – to wear or not to wear?
to protect me.
to protect you.
Anger at T.
Anger at the mayor.

Watching “Tiger King” and flattening the curve
social distancing and comorbidity
Pod and PPE
Fauci and Floyd.

Before
I would walk from A –
call it home –
to B
then to C and D
all the way to Z.
Stop and stop again
in a zig
back in a zag
a diagonal
a curve
I used my feet
road on elevators
shook hands
hugged.
You too remember
the long ago here.

We imbibe together.
Family Zooms.
Passover in four different states.
With Mom, sister Dana, brother Ira,
with everyone
but without
No with in space, only time.

Moving my body at home
bra becomes braless.

Hospitals with others.
Hospitals without beds.
Hospitals with 1000s of beds, all full.
Fear of going in
with you.
With me inside.

Ruthless flossing.

Fighting about something that happened six years ago.
Caring about everything
knowing that only one thing matters.
Dreaming like a film.
A film like a dream.
76 days in captivity and counting.

Going for a walk with a friend but without her.
Talking like a crazy person and wondering if I am.
Being with being there.
Being here only.
Not knowing where you’re here is.
Forgetting my mask and feeling ashamed.
Running home.
Looking a stranger in the face
saying hello loudly
droplets on my glasses
the fog of it all.

Hand sanitizer
So raw it hurts.
No need for more.
No
where to go.

Needing to imagine NYC as it is
as it was
even while I am here.
People worrying about me.

Singing “Happy Birthday” twice
under warm water.

Delivering food to a 65-year old friend I thought would starve.
Delivering food to a 90-year old friend who later died.
Our time together
counting and recounting the seconds I was in his house,
dreaded time,
minutes or seconds
count and recount.
He went to the hospital and never came home,
two months alone
Jim died of loneliness
at least in my mind.

People of color become surrogate shoppers.

Andrew Cuomo reading mortality and hospital statistics every day at 11:30 am.
Giving $50 tip to our UPS delivery person, Edison.
Feeling good
About me.

Hearing from a crazy old boyfriend who is worried about me.
Stop.

7 PM noise parties
celebrating the workers, the frontliners
the ones who took the risks
We whistle and hoot
from deep within our mouths
60 seconds
of anger and anxiety in unison with our neighbors
then we four turn around,
180 degrees
sit together for a meal
Talk of our day as if something and nothing can happen all at once.

I don’t miss a meal made in a kitchen I can’t see.
Nothing tastes good in a plastic box.
How I relish Mark’s food
savory and sweet
made hot
just a few feet from our cat’s breakfast and her day-old bowl of water.
Part of our hermetic now.
Part of our daunting.

Looking for a place to pee
I rush home from Greenwood cemetery
preferring not to die
there.

Saturday August 15
Our pod fragments –
Abandoned artificial routines.
I listen for the echo from April and May.
Strange longing for the solitude and the ache.

Less and less in the weather
more weathered
more aware of the weather
Spinning umbrella-less in the rain.

In a city on a lockdown,
doors never locked.
Nowhere to walk
And yet walking every day to somewhere not far from here.
In circles that resemble city blocks.
Tethered by the distance it takes to run home.

Nothing grows so fast
so boldly
as the Morning Glory vine
these late summer days.
I weave its wayward shoots
through the bars of our old wrought iron fence.
Wrought.

Lynne Sachs reads from Year By Year Poems

By Don Yorty 
October 31, 2020
https://donyorty.com/2020/10/31/lynne-sachs-reads-from-year-by-year/

I heard Lynne Sachs read for the KGB Monday Night Poetry Series on Zoom a few weeks ago. She read from her new book, Year By Year Poems (2019), which is a beautifully put together publication by Tender Buttons Press. In it she chronicles every year of her life from her birth to 2011, the year she turned 50.

In reading Year By Year Poems everyone brings their own experiences remembering that year and what it meant. Lynne Sachs is a filmmaker. Filmmakers give the gift of cherished time because every film has to do with capturing it, not just a still photo, but a long or a short span of a year or a day or a few moments of that day.

In the Vimeo below Lynne Sachs reads from Year By Year Poems. Enjoy.

Year by Year Poems by Lynne Sachs at Small Press Distribution:
https://www.spdbooks.org/Products/9780927920209/year-by-year-poems.aspx

And you can check out Tender Buttons Press here:
https://www.tenderbuttonspress.com/

Docs In Orbit – Masters Edition: In Conversation with Lynne Sachs

Docs in Orbit
Masters Edition: in Conversation with Lynne Sachs
August 2020
https://www.docsinorbit.com/masters-edition-in-conversation-with-lynne-sachs?fbclid=IwAR0GFg3TSr-leoQrQhmKl9MzMaRiaE3Zxbx0b-lsyos4EzqZDI0CpaXO1IU

Welcome to another Masters Edition episode of Docs in Orbit, where we feature conversations with filmmakers who have made exceptional contributions to documentary film.  

In this episode, we feature a two part conversation with the remarkable and highly acclaimed feminist, experimental filmmaker and poet Lynne Sachs

In part one of the conversation, Lynne Sachs speaks about how feminist film theory has shaped her work and her approach to experimental filmmaking. We also discuss her collaborative process in her films including, her short documentary film A MONTH OF SINGLE FRAMES (for Barbara Hammer), which is currently available to screen at Sheffield Doc/Fest until August 31st.


In part two, we discuss her latest feature-length documentary film, FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO, which will be having its international premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest in Autumn.


LYNNE SACHS’ WORK REFERENCED (in order mentioned)


OTHER INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS AND FILMMAKERS (in order mentioned) 

Maya Deren | Laura Mulvey | Carolee Schneemann | Kara Walker | Bell Hooks | Cauleen Smith | Ja’Tovia Gary 


FILM THEORIST AND FOUNDATIONAL ESSAYS

  • Mulvey, Laura. (1975). Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. Screen, 16(3), 6-18, Link
  • Steyerl, Hito. (2009). In Defense of the Poor Image. e-flux, 10, Link

Lynne Sachs is a Memphis-born, Brooklyn-based artist who has made over 35 films. Her work explores the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together text, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with every new project. 

Sachs films have been screened all over the world, including New York Film Festival, Sundance, Oberhausen, Viennale, BAMCinemaFest, Vancouver Film Festival, DocLisboa and many others. Her work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Walker Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts and other venues, including retrospectives in Argentina, Cuba, and China. 

She received a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship in the Arts. In 2019, Tender Buttons Press published Lynne’s first collection of poetry Year by Year Poems. 

Lynne Sachs is currently one of the artists in focus at Sheffield Doc Fest where her most recent feature documentary film, A FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO is presented alongside a curated selection of five of her earlier films.

Rain Taxi Reviews “Year by Year”

Rain Taxi 
Vol. 25 No. 2 – Summer 2020
Lynne Sachs – Year by Year Review 
By John Bradley 

“Everything that surrounds us becomes part of us,” wrote Fernando Pessoa in his The Book of Disquiet. In the author’s afterword to this book of poetry, Lynne Sachs refers to Pessoa’s statement as “an eight word distillation of my endeavor.” On turning fifty, Sachs decided to compose a poem for each year of her life, and that’s what Year by Year provides: fifty poems, beginning in 1961 and ending in 2011. For many of these poems, the book offers an early handwritten draft, adding an extra layer of depth to this intriguing project. Sachs, a filmmaker as well as a poet, wisely avoids trying to encompass every event that transpired in a year; rather, she distills one key moment. Here’s “1969,” a poem that provides an eight-year-old’s view of an historic event that year, in its entirety:

Our telephone rings.
Neil Armstrong on the line.
He knows I stole the Earth’s only moon.
“Give it back,” he says.
I watch him step across the lunar landscape.
I thought we could be friends.
He turns to look at all of us
(from the moon)
I am the only one who sees his sadness.

The poem feels like a combination of a young writer’s diary, a scene from a short story, and a dream. The end-stopped lines convey the sense of a writer used to composing prose, and the last line of the poem surprises the reader with its unexpected perception.

The most intriguing poems are those juxtaposed with the handwritten early draft, as with “2002,” for example. In the top right corner, we see a list of notes for that year: “security/ Anthrax/ gloves/ Susan w wears/ gloves.” The opening lines of the poem quickly remind us of the national panic that year: “Welcome to the department of homeland insecurity./ I’m with my friend in her car, not far from the Pentagon.” This is the year white powder was found in various envelopes, creating widespread fear; wearing gloves (as indeed Susan does in the poem) was a way to protect oneself, or at leastto create the illusion of protection. The ‘heart of that fear is revealed in the second stanza:

Here you’ll find inscrutable dust,
under your tongue, in your nails, your nose,
even the folds of your labia.
Dust that pushes past security bars and screen doors.

Her imagery brings to mind not only the white anthrax powder, but also the dust from the destruction of the two World Trade Center towers.

In the introduction to this book, poet Paolo Javier informs us that the poems of Year by Year led Sachs to create a “feature-length hybrid documentary” called Tip of My Tongue, an indication of how richly resonant these poems are, with their skillful intermingling of private and public.

– John Bradley

Rain Taxi – Volume 25 Number 2 Summer 2020 (#98) Reviews “Year by Year” – Poems by Lynne Sachs

INTERVIEWS
Maggie Dubris: A Prayer for St. Clare | interviewed by Zack Kopp
Wanda Smalls Lloyd: Creating Family Along the Way |
interviewed by Jessica Sparks
Sue William Silverman: The Now-ness of Memory | interviewed by Tatiana Ryckman

FEATURES
Louise Erdrich: An Appreciation | by James P. Lenfestey
Resurrecting Leo Tolstoy | by Tim Brinkhof
The New Life | a comic by Gary Sullivan

FICTION / DRAMA REVIEWS
A Beginning at the End | Mike Chen | by Jessica Raskauskas
Black Girl Unlimited | Echo Brown | by Linda Stack-Nelson
The Resisters | Gish Jen | by George Longenecker
The Shape of Family | Shilpi Somaya Gowda | by Rajiv Ramchandran
The Sweet Indifference of the World | Peter Stamm | by Susann Cokal
In The Beginning: A Stage Play | David Heidenstam | by Bryon Rieger

NONFICTION REVIEWS
Asemic: The Art of Writing | Peter Schwenger | by Jeff Hansen
Me & Other Writings | Marguerite Duras | by Fran Webber
The Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny | Daisy Dunn | by Walter Holland
The Devils | New Juche | by Alex Kies
Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life after Which Everything Was Different | Chuck Palahniuk | by Chris Via
The Painted Forest | Krista Eastman | by Dustin Michael
Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of Americas Youngest Sommelier | Victoria James | by Jack Sartin

POETRY REVIEWS

DMZ Colony | Don Mee Choi | by John Wall Berger
Elementary Poetry | Andrei Monastyrski | by Michael Workman
The Elegy Beta | Mischa Willett | by Lee Rossi
Year By Year | Lynne Sachs | by John Bradley
Maids | Abby Frucht | by Nick Hilbourn
Cement | Sarah Menefee | by Patrick James Dunagan
The Hospice Orgy | Phillip Lee Duncan | by Zack Kopp
Black Case Volume I & II: Return From Exile | Joseph Jarman | by Greg Bem
Amalgam | Sotère Torregian | by Patrick James Dunagan
The Distant Sound | Eliot Schain | by Lee Rossi
Hull | Xandria Phillips | by Tyrone Williams
The Last Love Poem I Will Ever Write | Gregory Orr | by Mandana Chaffa

COMICS / ART REVIEWS
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. IV: The Tempest | Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill | by Greg Baldino
In Dreams | Dennis Hopper | by Ruth Andrews
The Man Without Talent | Yoshiharu Tsuge | by Jeff Alford

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