BERNSTEIN / COUNTS / MALASKA & THE OCAC AUCTION PREVIEW

Gallery artists Amy Bernstein, Emily Counts, and Elizabeth Malaska all have work in Oregon College of Art and Craft's upcoming Art on the Vine auction supporting student scholarships. The official auction is April 8th, 2017 at the Portland Art Museum, but this coming Sunday, January 29th (2–5pm) there will be a preview party of the work included in the auction at OCAC's Hoffman Gallery. More details can be found HERE. If you can't make it Sunday, no worries! The work will remain on view until February 4th.

Hoffman Gallery, OCAC Campus
8245 SW Barnes Road, Portland 97225

ANNOUNCING LE OUI

Back in early December, gallery artist Carson Ellis approached me to see if we could help her with an idea she had: she had just finished her family's holiday card and thought the design would make an amazing poster. Since the elections, she'd also been wanting to do a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Putting the two ideas together, together we produced ONWARD, silk-screened locally here in Portland. The first run sold out in just a few days raising $5600.

The experience of producing Onward with Ellis led to many sleepless nights with fast running thoughts about the state of the world; the madness & challenges of running a small art gallery in Portland, OR; and on a more personal level, what I love most doing: working with inspiring artists whose work is not only beautiful but also thought provoking.

And so with the second printing of Carson's Onward, we launched Le Oui, an offshoot of Nationale. The first batch of prints sold out within a few hours on Inauguration Day, but you can sign up to be on the alert list HERE (leoui--001 will always be an open edition so we can raise more funds for the ACLU).

With Le Oui, our goal is to closely collaborate with established and emerging artists to eventually release limited edition silkscreen prints and donate part of the proceeds to organizations fighting for social justice and equality.

EMILY COUNTS FEATURED IN SEATTLE GROUP SHOW

Emily Counts' Basic Diagram (2016) now on view in Migratory Paths at Tashiro Kaplan Lofts in Seattle

Emily Counts' Basic Diagram (2016) now on view in Migratory Paths at Tashiro Kaplan Lofts in Seattle

Seattle friends! Check out Migratory Paths, a group exhibition featuring work by gallery artist Emily Counts and curated by Julie Alexander at the Tashiro Kaplan Lofts. The show features four Seattle-based artists whose work is "tactile, object based and engages the viewer’s body."  Exhibiting artists include:  Emily Counts, Marisa Manso, Tuan Nguyen, Dori Scherer. Gallery hours and more info can be found HERE.  

Upcoming hours are:
Open hours: Friday 1/27 and Saturday 1/28 from 12-4pm
Open for the First Thursday Art Walk 2/2, from 6-8pm
Closing reception: Saturday Feb 4th from 12-3pm

Tashiro Kaplan Lofts
300 South Washington

DU IZ TAK? RECEIVES CALDECOTT HONOR

Congratulations to gallery artist Carson Ellis for her recent Caldecott Honor for her amazing book, Du Iz Tak?. The Caldecott is an annual honor awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children, part of the American Library Association, recognizing the "most distinguished" picture books for children. Here's what they had to say about Du Iz Tak?:

A diverse community of anthropomorphic bugs is intrigued by an unfurling sprout. Carson Ellis deftly depicts the mysteries of life in an imaginary, natural world. Through intricate details and the witty humor of a made-up language, “Du Iz Tak?” is a treasure trove of visual and linguistic literacy.

Follow THIS link to read about Carson's fellow honorees and the Caldecott Medal winner. Congrats to all!

NATIONALE CLOSED 1/21 FOR THE WOMEN'S MARCH

"the struggle continues" / mai 68 poster

"the struggle continues" / mai 68 poster

We encourage you to turn the TV off today and visit art galleries, museums, libraries, and bookstores at a time when culture & education are so important. Nationale will be open regular hours from noon to 6pm on Friday. On Saturday the gallery will be closed so we can attend and support the Women's March.

PADA PANEL DISCUSSION: SHAPING EMERGING ARTISTS 1/21

Please join gallery artist Elizabeth Malaska and Nationale Assistant Director, Gabi Lewton-Leopold for a PADA panel discussion alongside: Stephanie Chefas, gallerist; Rory ONeal, artist; Michelle Ross, artist and teacher; and Peter Simensky, teacher and artist at Blackfish Gallery. The panel will be discussing important questions surrounding emerging artists in our community, such as: What are the forces shaping the development of Portland's emerging artists? How do arts professionals in Portland negotiate the trick dance between creativity and commerce?

Saturday, January 21, 2017
2-3pm
Blackfish Gallery
420 SW 9th Ave

The talk is free and open to the public!

"THE ARTISTS RESIST" / AMY BERNSTEIN FEATURED IN THE MERCURY

Many thanks to Megan Burbank, at The Portland Mercury, for her inspiring article, THE ARTISTS RESIST about how art can help us through these bleak political times (as it has so many times before!). 

Burbank writes, "...if you’re looking for an aesthetic refuge from the 24-hour news cycle, pop in to see the shop’s January show of Amy Bernstein’s minimalist paintings. A Lover’s Race features neatly elegant constructions—bright blobs of color on white canvases that seem to blend into the wall—and after months of trying to make sense of Trump tweets, it’s a relief to get away from screens and in front of abstract pieces. Nationale’s accompanying copy calls the show an attempt to reach the 'heart within the chaos,' which is exactly what it was for me on a recent weekday visit."

Check out the article for other great exhibitions and programming happening now to, as Burbank puts it, "preserve your sanity"!

 

THE NEED FOR BOOKS // FREDRIK AVERIN & DELPHINE BEDIENT

THE NEED FOR BOOKS
bookmakers, collectors, writers

DATE CHANGE:
Sunday, January 22 (3–5 p.m.)
Short talk by Fredrik Averin at 3:30 p.m.


If you go home with somebody, and they don't have books, don't f**k 'em! –John Waters

Calling all book lovers! Nationale is excited to kick off 2017 with a book event featuring bookmaker/designer/collector Fredrik Averin, and writer/maker/publisher Delphine Bedient. Join us for an informative afternoon, which will include a short talk from Averin about his extensive vintage book collection, browse the books made by these two innovative local artists, and help us celebrate Bedient’s most recent book, Every Single Piece of Blue Clothing That I Currently Own. Nationale will also be highlighting one of our most beloved publishers, Haymarket Books, who brought us Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me (our bestseller) and more recently, Angela Davis’ Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, to name just a few. The Need for Books marks the first in a series of events highlighting our library and the work of inspiring bookmakers.

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Fredrik Averin received his MFA from Konstfack – University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design in 1998. His work is included in the following libraries: University of Oregon, University of Washington, University of Buffalo, Columbia University, Stanford University, SFMOMA, and MACBA: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and in Portland, OR, at Division Leap, Passages Bookshop, and Nationale. Averin currently lives and works in Portland, OR.

Delphine Bedient is a writer and maker currently based in Portland, OR. She writes fiction and also runs Sincerely Analog Press, which publishes conceptually-minded books focusing on the contemporary ephemera and marginalia of human existence. Her writing has been published by Blunderbuss Magazine and Fog Machine, and a collection of her short fiction, entitled Down and Out on a Yacht, is available from Two Plum Press. She spends most of her time touching books.

 

INTERVIEW: JAIK FAULK

Gallery artist Jaik Faulk discusses his fifth solo exhibition at Nationale (!), "I feel alright with azaleas around." 

Gabi Lewton-Leopold: This is the first series you've shown at Nationale that focuses solely on the still life genre. We've seen elements of this in other series—abstracted paintings of objects or flowers, but they are typically accompanied by a healthy dose of the figure. What brought you to this space that focuses completely on painting objects with a clear nod to the still life tradition (skulls, flowers, vases)? Do you see it as a departure or as an extension of your past work? 

Jaik Faulk, Dark Skull and Bottle, 2016, oil on linen stretched over panel, 18.25 x 21.5" 

Jaik Faulk, Dark Skull and Bottle, 2016, oil on linen stretched over panel, 18.25 x 21.5" 

Jaik Faulk: Man, this question actually has thrown me for a loop. I was going to be wishy-washy and say it's a little bit of both (an extension as well as a departure) in some ways. But I will say firmly that it is an extension of my previous work. 

The big difference is that these paintings come from direct observation. I constructed these little arrangements and still lifes with painted bottles, handmade flowers (as well as flowers I've gathered from my neighborhood), and skulls that I have collected and painted. My work up until now has always resulted from collected images—painting as a direct response to the archive I've amassed in numerous sketchbooks and carried about. They've aged and torn and become discolored and I had always found it to be a nice little secret world to pull from. At some point I found myself searching and searching this archive and nothing grabbed my attention. I felt like I had hit a brick wall with that method of working. So, in response I began creating these little studio sculptures and arrangements. I set them up and lit them—moved them a bit here and there and began tinkering with these things in a more tangible way. I've toyed with this sort of thing for quite awhile but somehow it stuck this time. I guess I have such an attachment to portraiture and the figure that it was hard to allow myself to let it go. 

I find something very measured and nuanced in working this new way. It's really spooky how a studio practice can evolve and take you to places you never could've imagined. So there ya go: Extension vs Departure ?? Who knows. I could make a case for both, I guess.

A cardboard flower arrangement in Jaik's studio 

A cardboard flower arrangement in Jaik's studio 

GLL: It's like you took all the 2D imagery you usually work from in your sketchbooks and made it 3D in your studio—as if all the elements you collected and set up for these paintings were sketches in themselves. Your studio become your sketchbook and where you'd normally pull magazine fragments, you collected real objects. Something kinda magical about that idea. Can you talk more about your studio process with this series, what your setup is like and what materials you used. 

JF: In the studio I have little clusters of arrangements all around so each angle that I am painting from varies. These objects and things are ever-present, they create a vibe in the studio that I've always wanted to be in the work. Many a time I found myself saying "ah I wish I could just have a show in my studio, or I wish I could open my studio up to the viewers." Perhaps I thought that the thinking and logic in my paintings would be more apparent that way? But I'm not sure if that's the way it works. 

It is very much a painter's studio; very lived in and worked in, I love being in there. At some point in grad school someone said that it was exactly what they had imagined an artist's studio to look like, or that maybe it was "the studio most likely to be a real artist's studio." I love to see visitors respond to it, there is always something they gravitate towards that grabs their attention. Their thoughts on the objects, the space, the paintings are so informative. As I said, I love to be there and it's a nice little space that I've carved out for myself to think in and to paint in. 

Studio flower made from a plastic bottle

Studio flower made from a plastic bottle

GLL: This is perhaps your first series without of figures. The paintings Wolf Mask and Mask with Punk Wig could be seen as figures, but you've been sure to tell us in your titles that they are in fact objects, not living beings. Through this naming they lose their menacing quality and become more artificial. Was that your intention? 

JF: Yes, in the naming I did want to point out that they are artificial. You are exactly right that I wanted to strip them of their menacing quality and in fact, a great deal of all these things are artificial. 

They are flowers I made out of plastic and are sort of maquettes of flowers and arrangements that I imagine to be unreal or hyper-real. I wanted to use them as objects, as things to paint for purely formal reasons. With Wolf Mask for example, I really wanted to paint the hair and I was curious as to what I would need to do to achieve that. Mask with Punk Wig was much the same—I saw the teeth as a challenge. I thought to myself, "what could I do with that?"

Mask with Punk Wig, 2016, oil on canvas stretched over panel, 18 x 20"

Mask with Punk Wig, 2016, oil on canvas stretched over panel, 18 x 20"

GLL: The teeth are one of my favorite moments from this series! The pop of color and texture is so good and satisfying. I was also wondering about symbolism. Dutch still life genre (or Vanitas) was all about symbols—the skull and flowers as markers of time passing and impermanence of this life and pleasures that will not last. Was that part of your thought process conceiving of this series? Were you thinking about mortality?

JF: I do think of the Dutch still life tradition and Vanitas painting, but I hold it all on the periphery. I've done a bit of research on its history but to be honest, I felt that I was ruining good paintings by reading too much symbolism into it or adhering to the specific coded language those old fellows were using. I like that meaning to be there, and perhaps to discover personal meaning in these works, or to develop a personal language with them is more valuable than adopting a coded language. 

Mortality, oh yes. I was thinking about mortality, but again, only at the periphery. I've been to way too many funerals in the past year or two—many loved ones and people way too young, so I could see the skulls being a reflection of that. My brother is getting married in January, and I told him his wedding needs to hurry and get here so I can dress up for something fun.

I guess also on a lighter note, if the funerals have taught me anything, it is that life is too short to not paint what you want. I've always loved skulls and they do carry such a heavy weight symbolically that I've steered away from painting them. However lately, I've been looking at James Ensor and I felt like seeing how he embraced painting both skulls and masks—that gave me permission to do the same. As I get older I am learning to enjoy my little eccentricities.

James Ensor, Squelette arrêtant masques, 1891, oil on canvas 

James Ensor, Squelette arrêtant masques, 1891, oil on canvas 

GLL: I see that in my own life too, that growing up doesn’t get rid of insecurities, but it does make it easier to embrace those aspects that used to make me uncomfortable. Can you tell us a little about azaleas? What do they mean to you in terms of place and cultural or personal significance (as implied with the first person title)? And I may be wrong, but they seem to only make an appearance in one of the paintings Still Life with Gold Cup, and even in that work they are more white and light pink versus their signature hot pink. 

JF: Azalea's are a little bush or shrub that is very common in Acadiana (Cajun South Louisiana), where I live. I actually didn't paint any. The little flower in Still Life with Gold Cup is some other unknown flower from my front yard. It fades pretty quick after clipping so I had to work pretty fast to paint those flowers. 

Back to the Azalea's though, I thought maybe it would be too obvious to paint them, so I didn't even approach the idea. However, I love them, their presence in our neighborhoods down here gives me a specific sense of place. I see them everywhere riding my bike, and this combined with the bungalow architecture and porches I find endlessly fascinating. They do have a hot pink color and I'm not sure that they fit in the category of classic beauty, as they are a little "weedy." They pair well with linoleum counter tops and Salvation Army furniture. “Southern Bohemian Beauty” I would call it—beer rather than wine. 

Photo from Rick Olivier's 1976 Bayou Lafourche azaleas series

Photo from Rick Olivier's 1976 Bayou Lafourche azaleas series

GLL: "Southern Bohemian Beauty" —love that, and that's exactly the picture I have in my mind of you working in your studio. I've never been to the South but people always talk about how the pace is different. Do you think your studio practice and your work have changed since moving back to Louisiana? 

JF: Yes, I do believe both my practice and my work have changed—evolved, more so. I can't say if it is outwardly visible, it may be more subtle, but I know that I look at my work differently now. I expect different things from any particular piece. I've had much more time to get to know my work rather than the work of others. Who's doing what and where, and which way the art world was swaying; these were things that I paid more attention to in Portland and San Francisco. Now I am at a place where I am able to ignore extraneous noise.

I am getting to a point where I can view older pieces of mine through the lens of new works and say, "oh ok, that's what I was doing there, now I get it." And "ah-ha! that's why that piece works!" If I had to give specifics, it would be something to do with the lame fundamentals of painting. Quite often it is in analyzing the structure of a painting, the visual depth or the arrangement of things, visual cues. Silly little things that make paintings work. 

Louisiana has afforded much more time and space for my work. It feels very healthy. Also I get to have lunch with my brothers just about every week. It has been a very long time since I was able to do that.

HELLO, LADIES!

Hilary Horvath
Holly Stalder
Kate Towers
Nahanni Arntzen
Sea + Pattern
Skin by Ori 

Sunday, December 18 (1–3PM) 

Nationale is excited to announce a special evening with clothing designers Nahanni Arntzen, Holly Stalder, and Kate Towers; jewelry designer Sea + Pattern; and featuring mistletoe from florist Hilary Horvath. Whether designing in fabric, clay, or flowers, these five artists create unique & beautiful work. Skin By Ori will be offering her amazing lip sugar waxing. For one evening only, come meet these rad women and experience their captivating ways. 

☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄ ☃❄

Hilary Horvath is dedicated to sourcing the most beautiful, local flowers to feature in her shop & for her clients. One of her favorite and distinguished customers has said, "not even in Paris are the flowers this beautiful." Hilary is constantly amazed and inspired by the offerings of the many flower growers with whom she is fortunate to know in the Pacific Northwest. Hilary Horvath Flowers is located inside Alder & Co in downtown Portland.

Holly Stalder is a clothing designer, bridal designer, and shop owner holding court at 811 East Burnside in Portland, OR. Her days consist of dreaming up and making fanciful clothing in her tiny treasure box of a store, HAUNT where her two clothing labels, HOLLY STALDER and THE DIAMOND SEA BRIDAL, can be found. She is sweet, likes to accept challenges, and loves anything over a 100 years old. Since she established her business in 2000, she has been featured in national magazines, including Elle, Martha Stewert Weddings, The Wall Street Journal, Bust, and Venus. She is hands down what Nationale has missed the most since moving to Division in 2014.

Self taught through experimentation and an artist’s vision, Kate Towers creates non-seasonal one of a kind clothing. From 2000–2007, Towers was co-founder and co-owner of seaplane, a renowned shop in Portland featuring local designers and an intriguing collection of hand-made clothing. It is there that she developed her own line and helped inspire the fashion scene that is now Portland. She works out of her studio—located at 1215 SE 8th, Suite C—during the hours of Portland Public School. Visitors welcome! 

Nahanni Arntzen was born in a teepee in Kingdom Inlet, 11 miles up the river on a sandbar, way out there on the Southwest coast of British Columbia, Canada. Partly inspired by the styles she grew up with, as well as for a desire to expand her everyday jeans and t-shirt uniform, Nahanni designs clothing to be worn anywhere. All pieces are designed and produced onsite in her studio in Portland, OR (located at 1215 SE 8th, Suite C).  

Sea + Pattern is a Portland-based minimalist jewelry line and lifestyle blog with an edge by Britt Campagna Hawkes. There she shares her unique perspective and provide inspiration to all lovers of design.

Skin By Ori is the practice of Oriana Lewton-Leopold, a licensed esthetician and certified Reiki practitioner. She specializes in holistic facials using organic, plant based products that incorporate massage and healing touch, as well as natural sugar hair removal. Sugaring is an art form dating back to ancient Egypt. Using a paste made of sugar, lemon and water, it is molded to the skin and then flicked off, gently extracting hair at the follicle. Oriana’s background as an artist guides her as she helps her clients tap into their inner beauty, enhancing what makes them uniquely lovely. Skin By Ori is located across the street from Nationale, within Luminary Salon.

THIS BLACK FRIDAY...

As much as Nationale has always tried to play the retail game when it comes to Black Friday, we're not in the mood this year for business as usual. Actually we are outraged by what is happening at Standing Rock and have a hard time focusing on running a business when there seems to be so many more important ways we could use our time and energy right now. 

With this in mind, Nationale will be donating 15% of all Black Friday sales to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe - Dakota Access Pipeline Donation Fund. To thank our generous customers for helping us make this event have an impact, we will give complimentary copies of the life changing book, Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions to those who spend $100 or more in the shop ♥ 

Lame Deer

Lame Deer

ANGELA DAVIS / FREEDOM IS A CONSTANT STRUGGLE (IN STOCK)

In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world. 

Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today's struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today's struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine.

Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that "Freedom is a constant struggle."

Angela Y. Davis is a political activist, scholar, author, and speaker. She is an outspoken advocate for the oppressed and exploited, writing on Black liberation, prison abolition, the intersections of race, gender, and class, and international solidarity with Palestine. She is the author of several books, including Women, Race, and Class and Are Prisons Obsolete? She is the subject of the acclaimed documentary Free Angela and All Political Prisoners and is Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

MOONBEAMING WORKSHOP AT NATIONALE WITH SARAH GOTTESDIENER

Nationale will be hosting a special workshop with Sarah Gottesdiener on Friday, December 2 (7—9:30 pm). Register HERE (limited space available).

To many religions, the Moon represents the Female aspect of Divinity, shining softly and brightly. 

Understanding the phases of the moon is helpful to any modern mystic, to any woman, and person—as our closest celestial neighbor, ruler of the tides, and a gentle guide to our own intuitive cycles. The moon is a powerful force circling round our planet, and harnessing her energy is a natural step when thinking about our own dreams and goals.

In this workshop we will discuss scientific facts about the moon, become familiar with its 8 different cycles, and upon the symbolic importance of the moon in different cultures. We will go over basic types of manifestation work and spells as they pertain to the four key different moon cycles. Different magickal ingredients, spells, and suggestions on working with cycles will be discussed.

We will end the workshop with a short guided meditation and pertaining to the Moon phase occurring that day.

This course is intended for curious individuals, and for those practitioners who want to focus on using the power and energy of the moon in their meditations, manifestations, and spell casting.

Sarah Faith Gottesdiener is an artist, designer, tarot reader, and writer. She has been working with the mystic muse for the last 12 years, and has been teaching workshops on metaphysical subjects for the past 3. Gottesdiener self-publishes the Many Moons Workbook. Read more at visualmagic.info

GABI CO-CURATES THE JURIED STUDENT EXHIBITION AT OCAC

student juried exhibition fall 2016.jpg

Congrats to Gabi, who co-curated the student exhibition at OCAC ending on November 20.

The juried OCAC Student Exhibition offers a glimpse at the new artistic directions of OCAC’s degree and continuing education students. Innovative approaches, stylized techniques and personal imagery contribute to pieces ranging from utilitarian to conceptual to autobiographical.

Jurors
Gabi Lewton-Leopold | Assistant Director, Nationale
Taryn Wiens | Co-Director, S/PLI/T

MAX RITVO'S "FOUR REINCARNATIONS" REVIEWED BY LUSI

Max Ritvo’s newest, and unfortunately only, body of work Four Reincarnations can and should be taken as the physical embodiment of Ritvo himself. Subdivided into four parts, each section capable of standing on its own—a kind of reincarnation—easily represents the young poet’s mind, spirit, soul, and heart. Emotion spills from these pages, and although Ritvo’s pain is tangible, readers can also find solace in the most unexpected places in his poetry. The same was true of Ritvo, who claimed that the day he was no longer able to write would be the day when it was his time to pass. In Poem To My Litter he writes, “Even my suffering is good, in part,” good because it allowed him to create beauty out of suffering. On August 22nd, 2016, Ritvo’s mother said her son was too weak to write poetry; he passed the next morning on August 23rd in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 25 after an arduous battle with Ewing’s sarcoma.

Not only are these poems a reincarnation of Ritvo, they are also representative of a lifelong struggle that extends far beyond his struggles with cancer. They grapple with what is often at the core of every person, an ongoing search for meaning and sense of belonging. The young poet treads uncertain ground with valor, both in his battle with cancer and in his ambitious writing. Having reached the physical limits of his body, with Four Reincarnations he turns to his mind where his time is not up yet. In the poem Black Bulls he addresses the reader directly and claims, “I am sorry that you have come to this mind of mine,” yet, it is my belief that no one who has ever read his poems is sorry to have been graced with such original and breathtaking compositions.

I think the beauty of his works lies in his own self-awareness—he is unabashedly public and vulnerable, traits that go a long way in managing poetry that has the ability to go from despair to humor in a matter of lines. It is also important that he is unafraid to speak directly to his audience and does not shy away from any topic. In To Randal, Crow-Stealer, Lord of The Greenhouse he even addresses himself. He writes:

I master the technology to make bricks.
I build altars clumped with fire.
I am not afraid to light
A flower and destroy her beauty;
The crispy flower has been taken to a godly feast.
Do you pity my imagination? It will kill you.

His imagery deeply appeals to the senses with scenes of a hungry fire and pure flower in the same stanza, both images coming together in a “godly feast”, much like all of his works. Reading Ritvo, unbeknownst of his personal history, is like an out-of-body experience. Definitely autobiographical, although not necessarily confessional, Ritvo tackles topics anywhere from love to life to loss to Listerine strips. He is unafraid to light a fire in all his readers and build an altar for himself in the world of poetry.

For the young poet, art was an unconditional love, and this collection shouldn’t be read solely as his last words despite the fact that they indisputably are. Shame (and by extension self-pity) is no longer an entity for him, which he makes very clear in this heartbreaking collection. When reading Four Reincarnations, it is my instruction to devour every word meticulously, and perhaps equally important is to make sure to also read the acknowledgments. They are as raw as his prose; a perfect and intensely personal send-off. Being an artist is in itself walking close to death, and of the many contemporary poets, there is none other that treads that line so finely as Max Ritvo. Even in defeat, there is solidarity and perseverance. Despite Ritvo’s death and the recent election results, there is still unwavering hope and strength and solace.