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The Artist As Alice: Portrait of a Photographer's Life (Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award Series) Paperback – June 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

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This lyric sequence derives its allusive resonance from parallels in its protagonist's early life with the biography of Alice Liddell, the young Oxford cleric's daughter who inspired the Lewis Carroll classic... This Alice, however... transforms into the woman the historical Alice might have become had she married younger, moved with a cold and unsympathetic professor husband to Boston, given birth to daughters and lost a son to diphtheria, then become a photographer and artist after her husband's death, writing with light the same intricate interweavings as those which subtly coil the reader in the poet's web of words"--Carolyne Wright. "Darcy Cummings has invented a new, very different, historical fiction about Alice, one that imagines Lewis Carroll's Alice through the eyes of her older cousin, Maude.... This book clarifies while it bewitches--not only with Alice, but with the process of reading itself. Jeanne Murray Walker. --back cover blurb

From the opening poem, the reader is drawn into the intriguing world of Darcy Cummings's The Artist As Alice. This lyric sequence derives its allusive resonance from parallels in its protagonist's early life iwth the biography of Alice Liddell, the young Oxford cleric's daughter who inspired the Lewis Carroll classic. This Alice, however, though she shares a birth date, social class, and background with Charles Dodgon's muse, transforms into Cumming's muse, the woman the fictional Alice might have become had she married young, moved with her unsympathetic husband to Boston, raised a family, then became a photographer and artist, writing with light the same intricate interweavings as those which subtly coil the reader in the poet's web of words. I was impressed by this colleciton's imaginative certainty and organic coherence, its ability to weave a compelling narrative without sacrificing poetic lyricism and clarity. Cumming's language demonstrates a honed acuity in the creation of the lyric narrative sequence, into whose magic realm we fall, like Alice the artist, 'with impetuous grace.' - Carolyne Wright, Awards Judge --back cover blurb

Cummings's brilliant fantasy on a fantasy transports Lewis Carroll's Alice from England to New England and into a new identity as a photographer. The Artist As Alice is a visual and aural delight, humorous, touching, lush with images. The afternoon other-world dreams surface like a radiant madness, a reminder of the life of the imagination. - Elaine Terranova --back cover blurb

From the Publisher

An exciting new take on the afterlife of Lewis Carroll's "Alice," written in poems.
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Product Details

  • Series: Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award Series (Book 11)
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Bright Hill Press; first edition (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189247137X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892471376
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,597,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Penny Harter on May 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is brilliant! Cummings weaves a haunting and mesmeric spell. What astonishes me is how all the poems, though they come from different personae, are one piece, one texture--of earth and animal, field and fur, radiant dream and the chemical in a developing vat--woven from the fragments of almost otherworldly human lives. These poems, with their occasional surreal imagery and startling metaphors, transport me wholly into an alternate reality--another kind of rabbit hole. Time, loss, life, death--these permeate, but always tied to the particular feminine sensibility, the various faces of Alice as woman and artist. Cummings pulls me totally into Alice's world.
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