Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell

Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell

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Author: Charles Simic

Publisher: New York Review of Books (2011)

In Dime-Store Alchemy, poet Charles Simic reflects on the life and work of Joseph Cornell, the maverick surrealist who is one of America’s great artists. Simic’s spare prose is as enchanting and luminous as the mysterious boxes of found objects for which Cornell is justly renowned. 

"Dime-Store Alchemy...is the most sustained literary response thus far to Cornell’s boxes, montages, and films...incisive, freewheeling, dramatic—a mixture of evocation and observation, as lucid and shadowy as the imagination it celebrates...Dime-Store Alchemy is a meeting of kindred spirits that is itself a work of art."

—Edward Hirsch, The New Yorker