From our friends at HINGED, editor Jen Marshall Lagedrost brings you a book review of the newly minted Manor House Quarterly.
The cover of this slim, roughly 8×9 inch magazine throbs with color and intrigue. Upon sighting on a wooden table during a poetry reading in San Diego, I felt compelled to touch every page with both hands, or somehow—eat it.
I settled for requesting a review copy at the AWP bookfair in Boston where I met founding editor Dane Cardiel. This is not just a pretty coffee table prize—this is a HINGED converging arts jackpot.
Manor House Quarterly describes itself as an “international art and literary magazine that cultivates the cross pollination between contemporary media.” The Fall 2012 volume themed “IDOL” embodies converging arts across each glossy page, including poems by Rae Armantrout and Terrance Hayes paired with art by Alexander Khokhlov and Rohan Graefefly, as well as the iconic photography of Phil Stern. It features actual sheet music written in response to the topographical patterns and landscapes of San Diego County—a creative triple-play of sound, visual representation, and the natural world—composed by chamber-influenced band The Tree Ring. The issue also showcases the artwork of scientist-painter Kelsey Brookes, whose colorful molecular interpretations made the cover of the magazine. This cover design that initially possessed me, by the way, is his representation of LSD.
“IDOL” opens first to a Phil Stern photograph of a reclining and be-glassed James Dean, gazing out from a padded director’s chair, his canvas shoes up on a wooden step-ladder. Each subsequent page leads deeper into a vibrant dialogue and voracious exchange among the arts within the expanding possibilities of the theme. We receive an interview with Broadway costume designer Paloma Young paired with her sketches, paintings, and notes of the characters she clothes. “Microclimate(s),” a lyric series poem by Joseph Massey, appears across four pages in a column beside a watercolor painting series entitled “Lovesong,” by Wendy Heldmann. The reader can’t decide if the poems were written to the paintings or if the paintings came from the poems, because the visual experience blends into the reading, both in the layout of the pages and the conversation of content across verbal and visual elements.
In the center of the volume appears another artistic collaboration, a highly imaginative and quirky piece entitled “Instructions For a Séance With Vladimirs,” written by Terrance Hayes and illustrated by Kristina Micotti.
The layout of painted images paired with typed text and painted font headings breeds a whole new level of converging arts. The sequence begins with four illustrated busts of various Vladimirs: Chertkov, Tretchikoff, Lenin, and Nabokov, (who knew there were so many strange and compelling Vladimirs to conjure!), and it includes “Five Things You Will Need To Hold A Proper Séance,” why you should “Never Conduct A Séance By Yourself Unless You Want To Go Insane,” and what to do to “Summon The Spirit,” “If You’re Lucky,” “What Not To Do,” and “How To End The Party.” The work here is brilliant, hilarious, and creatively rousing. I recommend getting a hold of a copy of this treasure trove of relentless creative convergences to peruse immediately.
Manor House Quarterly just achieved their 2013 kickstarter goal of $10,000 ($10,276 to be exact) to fund their next issue three days ago on Friday, March 22nd, 2013. Congratulations Manor House Quarterly! Check out this brief and intriguing video of their mission that features their founder, poetry editor, and designer shedding light on their arrival and approach to this converging arts project.
MHQ’s forthcoming Spring issue “POST-” is available for preview on their website. The cover showcases a painting by Richard Diebenkorn, an artist I first came by when reading poet Sharon Dolin’s ekphrastic collection Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) in a course titled “Poetry Speaks to Painting.” His work is incredible, as is hers. I can’t wait to get my hands on this next installment of MHQ to see how Diebenkorn’s work fits into “POST-”, and what further dialogues, arguments, and harmonies sing out from its covers. (Note: MHQ is currently accepting submissions for their Summer issue, themed “MYTH,” until April 5th, 2013. Spread the word!)
MHQ states in their mission: “it is our goal to demonstrate the outcome and beauty when diverse genres of art communicate and listen to one another with their work.” Ours too. High five, MHQ, from HINGED.