In the Art Squares Bundle
One Day at the Taiwan Land Bank Dinosaur Museum (2021), a picture book for adults by Elīna Eihmane.
This is a picture book for adults, framed as a bedtime story (and love letter) to the author’s son. It follows the events of the little boy’s birth, and his mother’s struggle with her new role. In stunningly raw writing that cuts straight to the heart, Eihmane tells a story about love and where love comes from. The book is beautifully illustrated by the author, in dark blues and reds, with expressive, blotchy artwork.
“Today you made an anger pile: you threw our laundry, books, coins, toothbrushes, plastic animals and my wet rain jacket into a pile on the floor. You were so angry. I said: Make it as big as your anger. You added chairs, seeds, more clothes, scissors and the Travel Taiwan book. At some point you started to laugh.”
Page count: 40 | Publication date: March 2021 | Paperback ISBN: 9781912915668
Menagerie (2020), poems by Cheryl Pearson with illustrations by Amy Evans.
Menagerie is a collection of poems about animals, divided into three sections: water, earth and air. Some poems examine a creature from close-up, almost allowing the reader to see the world through the animal’s eyes, while the poet is more present in other poems, looking on. The collection invites the reader to reflect on loneliness, love, mortality, and hope.
“I light for the den of hindleggers.
The all-on-ups who flummox and fuss
at our slinkings-in. Keepers of cluckers
who make good our bellies, whose blood-
beaters patter like rain under feathers.
I follow my teeth to the red-to-come,
follow my own gold lights over grass.
Oh, bloodsmell! Oh, flush of rust! A flood
to loosen, a feast of salt when I open.”
Page count: 36 | Publication date: 22nd May 2020 | Paperback ISBN: 9781912915385
The Goldfish (2019), poems by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi, with illustrations by Emma Dai’an Wright.
The Goldfish is a sumptuous, surreal exploration of femininity. The poet inhabits the voice of a goldfish through a series of linguistically experimental poems which plunge us into the glass bowl and invite us to gaze out.
The poems are in turn sensual, spiky, and queasy, as the poet satirizes the patriarchy and issues a rallying cry for women broken down by society. Halfway through the book, the scope opens out to the world beyond the goldfish bowl, via the story of a free spirit passing through customs, a paean “to our white husbands”, and a letter which heals old wounds.
“I enter the white cave filled with white roses and white candles. I think I am alone, lost in this cave of madness. I continue to walk to the vulva space. A space of pleasure, says the whispering voice (I don’t know where it comes from). Look for the crown. I step forward, I turn to the left, then turn to the right, I jump three times and bow my head. I look around and see my shadow shaped in pink. ”
Page count: 36 | Publication date: 26th October 2019 | Paperback ISBN: 9781912915200