A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by the Work of Joseph Cornell

A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by the Work of Joseph Cornell

by Jonathan Safran Foer


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This book is the result of a convergence, which began with the passion of a young writer, Jonathan Safran Foer, for the work of the 20th century American assemblage artist Joseph Cornell. Inspired by Cornell's avian-themed boxes, and suspecting that they would be similarly (and diversely) inspiring to others, Foer began to write letters. The responses he received from luminaries of American writing were nothing short of astounding. From Joyce Carol Oates to Robert Pinsky, Rick Moody to Lydia Davis to Howard Norman, twenty writers have generously contributed original pieces of prose and poetry that are as eclectic as they are imaginative. Accompanied by tipped-on plates, this volume is a soaring tribute - not only to the work of Joseph Cornell, but also to the spirit of creation.

Contributing writers:
  • Diane Ackerman
  • Martine Bellen
  • John Burghardt
  • Robert Coover
  • Lydia Davis
  • Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Ann Lauterbach
  • Barry Lopez
  • Rick Moody
  • Bradford Morrow
  • Howard Norman
  • Joyce Carol Oates
  • Dale Peck
  • Robert Pinsky
  • Erik Anderson Reece
  • Joanna Scott
  • Rosemarie Waldrop
  • Diane Williams
  • John Yau
  • Paul West

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781891024221
Publisher: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers
Publication date: 06/02/2001
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 8.88(h) x 1.29(d)

About the Author

Joseph Cornell was born Nyack, New York in 1903. This American sculptor was one of the pioneers and most celebrated exponents of assemblage—an artform influenced by the Surrealists. Cornell was best-known for his shadow boxes—relatively small constructions, within glass-fronted shallow boxes or frames, made of a wide variety of found objects, maps, photographs, engravings, and other materials. The Cornell boxes possess a unique visual magic, and their selection and arrangement are extraordinarily evocative and filled with personal symbolism. He was also an avant-garde and experimental filmmaker who lived New York City for most of his life in a frame house on Utopia Parkway in Queens, New York, with his mother and his brother, Robert. Cornell died in 1972.

Rick Moody is the author of numerous books of fiction, including The Ice Storm, Purple America, Demonology and, most recently, The Black Veil: A Memoir with Digressions. He has received the Aga Khan Prize and the Addison Metcalf Award, among other honors.

Howard Norman is the author of many works, including The Bird Artist, The Museum Guard and The Haunting of L. He is the winner of a Lannan Foundation Award in Fiction.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:

February 21, 1977

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.


B.A. in Philosophy, Princeton University, 1999

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Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by the Work of Joseph Cornell 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As one who loves the assemblage art of Joseph Cornell and who has tried to mimic his work (have never even come close to his most uninspiring pieces), I will say this is one of the best books I have read in a long while. The poems and fiction inspired by Joseph Cornell's series of boxes he created about birds speak not only to the writers' love of Cornell but to the power that art has to inspire. This prose and poetry is diverse, powerful, affective and magical. Each piece is preceded by a color plate of the Cornell work that inspired it making this book as well a small collection of Cornell's magic. I am giving everyone on my holiday list a copy.