A Picture Is Always a Book: Further Writings from Book of Ruth
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Poets have long inhabited personas and channeled voices—think of Frank Bidart writing as Vaslav Nijinsky and the child-murderer and necrophiliac Herbert White; Anne Carson writing as the red-winged Geryon, in her verse-novel The Autobiography of Red; Gertrude Stein writing as her companion, Alice, in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. As Bidart suggests in his poem “Advice to the Players,” artists, particularly poets, take on the roles of others to create a “mirror in which we see ourselves.” The late poet and artist Robert Seydel also explored a series of alternate identities, and in the process found a voice that is unmistakably his own.
Seydel was trained as a photographer, and in addition to working as an artist and a writer, he was a professor at Hampshire College for over a decade. In 2001, he died of a
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