Glenn Gould's Chair (Eyewear Publishing)
Mandy Kahn’s wonderfully inventive and gloriously lyrical second collection of poems, Glenn Gould’s Chair, weaves composer biography and classical music terminology into a compelling, accessible, and unabashedly beautiful consideration of the creative life.
In the collection, Béla Bartók treks into remote villages to record folk songs on the world’s first phonograph, a dying Gustav Mahler is greeted in heaven by Mozart, Igor Stravinsky receives a letter from a music student who wonders what rules are left to break, and Glenn Gould’s chair defends its owner against claims of eccentricity. Kahn—who also works as an opera librettist—explores the challenges and exaltations of art-making in poems that explode with curiosity, incisiveness, and awe—and that build into a lush celebration of the creative process.
Kahn’s 2014 debut collection Math, Heaven, Time—also from Eyewear Publishing—prompted a reviewer from the Los Angeles Review of Books to write, “In using the word “remarkable,” I do mean that the collection is so extraordinary or exceptional as to invite comment. Or perhaps I should have called it striking, because it certainly impresses itself powerfully and deeply upon the observer’s mind or vision. From the moment I was first introduced to Mandy Kahn and her debut collection, I knew I had encountered a voice beyond the common realm...Of the influences she names, Thoreau seems to have left his transcendental nature print most prominently. There’s also a sense of Yeats’s splendor and, at times, the concision of Dickinson, but as with all true visionaries, her alchemy creates a completely new sound — a melopoeia that is both familiar and otherworldly.”
Mandy Kahn is the author of the poetry collection Math, Heaven, Time. Former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser featured Kahn’s poem “At the Dorm” in his newspaper column American Life in Poetry. She frequently collaborates with composers to create new works that combine poetry and classical music and was a librettist for Yuval Sharon’s acclaimed opera Hopscotch. Kahn is coauthor, with Aaron Rose, of the nonfiction bookCollage Culture, which was also released as a record with a score by No Age. She lives in Los Angeles.