A. Robert Lee
has just published another volume of poetry:
Imaginarium: Sightings, Galleries, Sightlines
This is his latest collection of poetry and is published by 2Leaf Press.
From the publisher’s website:
The term “imaginarium” refers to a “place” devoted to stimulating and cultivating the imagination, towards scientific, artistic, commercial, recreational, or a spiritual end. In this collection, Lee explores two connecting keynotes: imagination and sight that explores the way we go about imagining as much as seeing reality. Lee goes about this using an ekphrastic approach by commemorating a dozen or so celebrated visual artists and their works, among them J.M.W. Turner and Frida Kahlo. He extends the usual meaning of the term to include vantage-points like a French archeological cave, and then expertly frames a run of personal encounters within the heights and widths of buildings and landscapes.
To learn more about Lee’s new poetry volume, click here to visit the 2Leaf Press website.
This is A. Robert Lee’s third recent volume of published poetry. For more about the other two recent volumes – Ars Geographica and Portrait and Landscape – published by Printed Matter Press, click here.
I look forward to immersing myself in this new volume of poetry, Portrait and Landscape: Further Geographies, by poet, Melville scholar, world traveler, and 21st century cosmopolitan, A. Robert Lee. The book is forthcoming from Printed Matter Press. Click the image to open up a large image of the book’s front and back covers.
FROM THE BOOK JACKET
Portrait and Landscape. Vertical and Horizontal. Two terms used in printing and the visual arts as well as in the general round. In Portrait and Landscape, Further Geographies they double-up again as framing for a gallery of people and place. The portraiture opens with Herman Melville. Ocean-voyager, steersman, diver. In his wake follow personally known writers and a span of friendships and close encounters. Brits, Americans, Europeans, Asians. The landscapes at hand also and equally summon the Atlantic and Pacific. Geo-worlds. Interiors as much as exteriors. Versifications of both site and itinerary.
A. Robert Lee was a Professor in the English department at Nihon University, Tokyo from 1997-20 l l. British-born he previously taught at the University of Kent, UK. His creative work includes Japan Textures: Sight and Word, with Mark Gresham (2007), Tokyo Commute: Japanese Customs and Way of Life Viewed.from the Odakyu Line (2011) and Ars Geographica: Maps and Compasses (2012), also a Printed Matter Press publication. Among his academic publications are Multicultural American Literature: Comparative Black, Native, Latino/a and Asian American Fictions (2003), which won the American Book Award in 2004, and Modern American Counter Writing: Beats, Outriders, Ethnics (2010). He has also published widely on Melville. Currently he lives in Murcia, Spain.
Call Me Herman: The Life and Writings of Herman Melville is a freely accessible collection of reference databases related to the life and writings of the 19th century American author, Herman Melville. After spending a mere 11 years writing and publishing a series of travel narratives and novels that culminated in the rhetorical, philosophical, and literary masterpiece that is Moby-Dick, Melville spent the last 35 years of his life writing and publishing poetry. Besides the four volumes of poetry he successfully saw through to publication — Battle-Pieces, Clarel, John Marr and Other Sailors, and Timoleon — at the time of his death he was still composing, revising, and arranging for publication three other verse-inspired or verse-filled volumes which he unfortunately did not live long enough to complete and publish: Billy Budd, Sailor; Weeds and Wildings Chiefly with a Rose or Two; and Parthenope.
Like any website, Call Me Herman is a work-in-progress, but even in its current, inchoate state, exploring its menus, submenus, and site map will provide visitors with a detailed overview of the entire corpus of Melville’s writings—published and unpublished, completed and uncompleted. The various databases include book and subject bibliographies sorted by author and year; a Melville Almanac that highlights important dates in Melville’s life; various annotated resource lists; an extensive selection of quotations; a gallery of art works that Melville saw, collected, or wrote about; and categorized listings of current and out of print books of Melville biography, criticism, and editions.
In addition to these archival resources, you will also find a calendar of upcoming events and links to Melville-related websites, blogs, and newsfeeds. The event calendar, links to various websites, blogs, and groups, and the constantly changing content of the newsfeeds indicate the extent to which Melville continues to attract, influence, and inspire readers, writers, scholars, visual artistis, critics, musicians, actors, and playwrights. A planned archive of cartoons and advertising copy will document Melville’s continuing influence on popular culture.
The Original Melville Room
Much as this website evolved out of a need for handy reference material, in the pre-internet decades of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, a similar need led to the establishment of what was to become the original Melville Room that was curated and housed on the second floor of Chicago’s Newberry Library. In the mid-1960s, the late Professor Harrison Hayford (1916–2001) of Northwestern University began to recruit scholars, editors, independent researchers, librarians, and graduate students to work on
editing and publishing scholarly, critical texts of Melville’s writings. As part of this effort, Hayford, with the help of Newberry Library staff—especially that of Richard Colles Johnson—collected, catalogued, and curated the many types of items that became the Newberry Library Melville Collection. Located in what became colloquially known as “The Melville Room,” the Newberry Melville collection was comprised of rare first editions of Melville’s writings, numerous file cabinets filled with copies or offprints of articles reviews, essays, and various sorts of Melvilliana. These file cabinets were surrounded by rows of bookshelves containing all the works of criticism and biography that had been published to date. The Newberry Library Melville Room served for decades as an essential repository of primary and secondary materials that Hayford and the Newberry staff made readily available to scholars, editors, and graduate students working not only on the texts of the multi-volume Northwestern-Newberry Writings of Herman Melville series, but on their own Melville-related research projects as well.
The Melville Society Archive
Most of the contents of the original Melville Room are now part of the Melville Society Archive, one of several projects administered by scholar and volunteer members of The Melville Society through its Melville Society Cultural Project. Working in collaboration with the New Bedford Whaling Museum (NBWM), the Melville Society Archive is maintained as a part of the NBWM Research Library. Just as with the original Melville Room, anyone with an interest in doing research related to Melville’s life and writings is welcome to visit, study, and conduct research in New Bedford, MA using the resources of the Melville Society Archive. The MSCP accepts donations of books, manuscripts, papers, and photos. You can visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s website for detailed information about visiting, donating, and accessing the resources of the Melville Society Archive.
Database Websites and Traditional Brick and Mortar Archives
Doing original research in libraries, newspaper and periodical archives, museums, and historical society holdings will always be important and essential. But now, more than two decades into the digital information revolution, author- or subject-specific websites complement the resources of the various brick and mortar archives that have been and will continue to be essential to scholars, biographers, and critics doing original research. Two such websites that offer their own unique, complementary resources for Melville scholars, critics, editors, students, and readers are Melville’s Marginalia Online which makes available digital images of the annotations Melville made in books he owned, borrowed, or shared and the Melville Electronic Library which is in the process of establishing online versions of Melville’s writings. Like these two sites, Call Me Herman is proffered as a complementary resource to the archival holdings and catalogs of important and irreplaceable institutions like the Houghton Library of Harvard College, the Berkshire Historical Society, the Melville Society Archive housed and curated in the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Mystic Seaport Museum, and the New York Public Library. You can of course add to this list many other libraries, museums, and newspaper and periodical archives located throughout the world that are important for understanding Melville’s life and writings.