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Endless: A Literate Passion Paperback – November 25, 2015
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A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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"ENDLESS reads like a love letter...I feel I'm inside a museum of daring sculptures, a Grecian sun glinting off the bone white marble. The collection--voluptuous, its rhythms searching, sensual, and authentic 'like a wife--an insatiable wife...a lover of silk...and words...and your breath,' finding the authentic voice within the poet's internal theater. I slipped easily into these literary shoes to stride confidently across the stage..." ~ Lois P. Jones, Kyoto Poetry Journal
"Anne's writing is intimate, tactile, rhythmic and vast...I found myself taken to many places and into different periods of time..."
~ Eric Anfinson, artist, Anais and Henry
"ENDLESS is a mantic book, the handiwork of a sorceress and magicienne, of one whose gifts with language and perception transform the sublunary and timely into pictures of dynamic affect...to put the collection aside is suddenly to see a landscape in a new light where grey and white are perpetually moving but without invention or causality. It is refreshing and rare to read such flawless poetry. Hence, ENDLESS is made into an object I return to frequently and continue to keep with me."
~ Kevin McGrath, Harvard University
"Moving page by page through the red silk journals of the heart, Anne Tammel takes the reader on a journey through a historical and literary landscape so vibrant, so vividly and generously splashed with color and love that it could only be explored through poetry. Here is a woman, who, much like the great artists about whom she writes, not only looks at the world with extraordinary, resplendent vision, but who has the courage and talent to offer that vision beautifully to the world."
~ Melissa Studdard, I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast
"Lovely, lovely! A most impressive, artistic collection that definitely will be enjoyed by all and everyone..."
From the Author
In love with literature at a young age, I often imagined the mindsets of those who dared to overcome tragedies and face great losses, or those who dared to love even after love was forbidden. A child of the Silicon Valley, I grew up relating to people who took unprecedented risks and lived on the edge of their dreams. I read about these people so much that they became real to me in the here-and-now. Their voices formed a music in my mind...
A Literate Passion is the book of letters exchanged between Anaïs and Henry; this is the book that ultimately inspired my poem about Nin--and of course, the title of my book, Endless: A Literate Passion...
I loved to imagine this beautiful woman writing in her secret diary every night, robed in silk, surrounded by the luxuries of Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, while at the same time filled with so much longing--to the point that she kept recording her secrets night after night, until her heart finally leapt off the page...she could no longer turn away from the dreams that became so vivid inside of her. "And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom..."
Being an author of fiction, the poem Endless is the first dramatic monologue I wrote. When I sat down with the exercise, I could hear Anaïs' voice speaking to Henry. The poem emerged in less than ten minutes...
As I set the words down, I could hear Nin's voice and her words clearly. And that was all I needed...to know Nin's story intimately, to hear her melodic voice speak to Henry in my imagination...to see "her" words set on paper--those words I still believe capture the essence of Anaïs Nin and what mattered most to her...
an endless amount of time,
until our lives
have become dust
and the red silk journals
I have also written a novel about Amelia Earhart (and about finding Amelia, and about Amelia finding herself), which has yet to reach the world; in doing so, I spent time imagining what might have happened to Amelia on her final flight. My poem, Amelia Earhart at the Red Sea, evolved from that story.
During this voyage around the globe, Amelia would write letters and send them home. When she finally reached the Red Sea, which she had imagined all her life, she was surprised to find the sea not actually red; it was blue. (And isn't life so much like this?) I like to imagine the ways Amelia was transformed by this voyage, as we all are by travel.
I love to imagine Amelia dipping her toes into that water of mystery, and this daring act setting off a chain of events in her transformation.
In our common perception of her, Amelia flew away from America as one woman. To most of us, she always will be that powerful American icon crossing the skies, on some eternal search for a safe spot to land.
I like to picture this as Amelia's starting point...
Amelia steps out into the world...Amelia no longer is simply American...she belongs to and becomes representative of the world...the cultures, the voices, the beliefs, sounds, and the senses of the world so foreign to her. Amelia becomes representative of our collective desire for transcendence, for oneness with all that is, and for higher consciousness--for the divine. When we expose ourselves to that which is foreign, we run into what scares us the most; we become different people. This--and my novel, which is later to come--is the story about the woman Amelia actually was, who she became on this voyage.
Leaving Paris is a poem about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The story of the Fitzgeralds is simultaneously tragic and fascinating. Zelda, the quintessential Jazz Age party girl, Scott's "golden girl," was the subject of some of his greatest works--Zelda was the center of the glitterati. When this all became too much, Zelda left her husband in Paris and tried to go back to America, to return to some "normalcy" or "balance." But for most writers, the concept of normalcy is often an illusion, and we never truly can actually achieve that...not for extended lengths of time, as we find ourselves led by pursuit after pursuit to create the stories the world needs to hear.
Leaving Paris is a poem about encountering and facing ourselves, a theme I return to often in my fiction. Just as Zelda attempted to flee the life she had created with Scott--back home, back to her privileged upbringing as a Southern belle--on a universal level, we often cannot return to our pasts, or go back to undo our mistakes. We must make peace with our pasts and step forward into our futures. In trying to run back to her past, to the privileged, idyllic, scandalous reality she once knew, Zelda in a sense trapped herself...
I walk the rainy streets
Proliferative Ashes is a poem about loss and love; it is a poem about language, and about the loss of language...
When I started studying Celan, I felt a connection with this lover of words, of poetry, and of people. What came to devastate and haunt Celan more than anything else, I believe, was the loss of this language. As the language became destroyed by Nazi propaganda, the meaning of those words also forever became destroyed.
Celan clung to a vision of turning the language back somehow to what it had been--but like the staggering numbers of those who were murdered during the Holocaust, there was no turning the numbers back. There wasn't any way to turn back the language either; everything the words had come to mean...those senses, the power and the magic they had come to import, had been decimated.
As writers, poets and dreamers, we are channels, scribes, or messengers; we don't always choose to feel what we are going to feel or write about. I wrote this poem to him...
rising in the sky
above proliferative ashes,
so very many times...
The poem goes on to become a dream of my own--an answer to Celan:
And as is only possible in dreams, the impossible happened in my poem:
As an author of fiction, I offer this collection of imaginary poems as a gift to the world, a meditative exercise, a pause from my novels, and a spiritual connection to those we have loved but who have passed, leaving only the words, memories, and the senses we continue to carry within each of us.
- Anne Tammel
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It was within the “Spirito” section that “Mystical Minoan Chimes” struck familiar echo in my memories. “Dante and the Silk Journal”, “Gates of Paradise” and “Athênai” all resounded with conjunctive affinity. And then, again, I strolled along the canals of Venice, admiring the multihued waves that would soon adorn the wooden palettes… …only to be almost brutally awakened by the sharp tattoo of black shoes dancing upon a wooden floor. A most unusual experience. Thank you, Anne.