The Marginalian
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Search results for “Grief”

Of Lamb: A Children’s Classic Retold for Contrarians

What baseball player Manny Ramirez has to do with the fourth-best-selling poetry book in America.

If you combined a game of Exquisite Corpse, textual erasure, and the fantastic coloration of outsider art, you might come somewhat close to the gorgeous new book Of Lamb. Out this month from McSweeney’s, Of Lamb is a collaboration between poet Matthea Harvey and artist/illustrator Amy Jean Porter, and the sum of its parts is unlike anything we’ve seen before.

The project’s original text was a biography of the 19th-century British essayist Charles Lamb, which Harvey proceeded to white-out until only fragments and phrases remained. She then turned the much-reduced manuscript over to artist Porter, who created 106 gouache-and-ink images to illustrate Harvey’s melancholy, dreamlike poem.

Of Lamb is a work of such subtle, haunting, spellbinding beauty it is virtually impossible to describe it. Fantastical and yet, so strangely, achingly ‘real’ in its tracking of love, loss, grief, and again love” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

The titular lamb travels from Mary’s yard to a mental facility and beyond, coming into contact with former Red-Soxer Manny Ramirez, newscaster Brian Williams, and Oprah. Like the bizarre but beautiful outcome of a genetic mutation, he turns shades of bright orange, neon green, and deep blue, all the while going through a range of totally familiar human emotions.

A totally tweaked retelling of the classic nursery rhyme, Of Lamb is a singular experience that will entrance any age. And if you hunger for more children’s books for grown-ups, don’t miss our all-time favorites, in two installments.

Kirstin Butler is writing an adaptation of Gogol for the Google era called Dead SULs, but when not working spends far, far too much time on Twitter. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA.

BP

Through the Middle: Bittersweet Short Film about a Barber, Perseverance, and Impermanence

Last year, we featured 7 short films about near-obsolete occupations, which went on to become one of our most enjoyed pickings all year. Today, we add to that collection Through the Middle — a beautiful observational documentary about an aging barber named Mr. S and the slow decline of his business. The film follows his profound reflections as he confronts his retirement, the loss of his patrons, and the ever-changing face of the city.

I enjoy cutting hair 24 hours a day. If I’ve got in my mind halfway through a haircut that I don’t enjoy it, I’ll put the tools down and walk out and leave you, and that would be the end of it then.”

The work of filmmakers Simon James Lane and Tom Sweetland, Through the Middle exudes the quiet grief of change as the foreign future, even when framed as progress, replaces the familiar past — the universal human restlessness towards impermanence.

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