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Art & Photography Literature & Fiction - Poetry

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The Chairs

ISBN: 9781735461519
Binding: Hardcover
Author: N. M. Hoffman
Artist: Gloria Matuszewski & Designer: Élie Colistro
Pages: 88
Trim: 7.5 x 10.5 inches
Published: 02/22/2024

THE CHAIRS is an homage to Rilkean method based on N. M. Hoffman's work on Rainer Maria Rilke's prismatic "Les Roses," published with English translation by Kearns, Howard & Walker. The poems braid strands of contemporary reality with historical residue to produce a politicized poetry uncharacteristic of American contemporary verse.

N. M. Hoffman and Gloria Matuszewski continue their collaborations "in tandem" in this book of poetry and artwork, THE CHAIRS, from Kearns, Howard & Walker released in February 2024.

THE CHAIRS, like their impressive interpretation of Rainer Maria Rilke's French poems, THE ROSES, was designed by Élie Colistro in France. It was printed by Média Graphic in Rennes, France.

THE CHAIRS poems are a departure in spirit and format for this poet, who generally writes in a longer idiom. These poems are a gesture to Rilke's controlled forms in THE ROSES that simultaneously lean for inspiration into Gloria Matuszewski's commanding paintings devoted to the chair.

These poems are never overtly political or overtly personal. In them, the sensitive reader will recognize both current events and events from the past that linger on the contemporary horizon. These are the strengths of the poet's technical skill overall, that the poems modulate between past and present. This is true also of poems here that are more personal in nature; they modulate between the poet's personal experience and similar experiences shared by other humans, existing on the same planet.

THE CHAIRS also manifests the poet's and the painter's work "in tandem" as presented in numerous exhibitions over 30 years, among these in California at The Commonwealth Club and Marin Museum of Contemporary Art and in NYC at The Cornelia Street Café and Jadite Galleries. Their work goes along "at the same time," neither directly reflecting meaning, nor directly referencing image. This is ekphrasis at a high level by serious literary and visual artists who admire and take inspiration from each other in turn after artistic turn, in choice after artistic choice.

THE CHAIRS presents the opportunity for taoist meditation on the course of contemporary events combined with remembrance and overt gestures to memory and its significance. In the artistic forging of events and memory, of current time and the past, the artists have created a kind of pyrotechnic testament to our challenges, our missed opportunities, to generational courage, to peace, and to hope.


N. M. Hoffman's poems have appeared in U.S., U.K. and Canadian journals and she has given readings at The Frye Art Museum (Seattle), Commonwealth Club (San Francisco), Les Lectures sous L'Arbre (Chambon-sur-lignon, France) and Theatre St. Mark's and Cornelia Street Cafe (NYC). She was the recipient of an Edward Albee Writer's Fellowship and holds a PhD from the Poetics Institute of NYU where she was awarded Carnwath-Calendar Fellowships.

She collaborates frequently with other artists, notably with the painter Gloria Matuszewski (San Francisco) and with the composer Jeffrey Schanzer (who studied with Morton Feldman). Her collaboration with Mr. Schanzer, The Requiem Before the Times of Peace, was performed by The New York Virtuosi Singers at St. Peter's Church and Merkin Hall in NYC.

Ms. Hoffman's prose has appeared in The Wallace Stevens Journal and Theatre Review. The poet is married to Peter Graasbol Schmidt. They live in Manhattan.

Gloria Matuszewski has lived in California most of her life. She earned a degree in Fine Art from the University of California in Berkeley, Secondary Life Teaching credential from SF State University and participated in Graduate Studies at JFK University.

Gloria has taught Art and Tai Chi for several years. Her artwork was included in the Art in Embassies Program and she has been exhibiting for 40 years. The work is in several collections including Kaiser Hospital, Marin General Hospital, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, William F. Black Collection, Stanford Medical Center Collection and the Tempe Public Library in Arizona. She lives in Novato, California.

She is represented by the Andra Norris Gallery in Burlingame, California, and the Lori Austin Gallery in Sebastopol and Healdsburg, California. She is also an active member and exhibiting artist at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art. The artist lives in Novato, California.

The Chairs book was designed and overseen in production by French book designer, Élie Colistro, trained in France and at Cooper Union in NYC. Élie has worked with international artists and with distinguished French galleries on their catalogs, with companies on their logos and branding materials, and with Paris art museums on their exhibition materials.