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A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by Joseph Cornell

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This special limited edition of A Convergence of Birds follows the successful publication of the trade edition of this wonderful anthology of new fiction and poetry inspired by the art of Joseph Cornell. This book features writing from 22 of the best American writers working today; authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Pinsky, Rick Moody, Howard Norman and Barry Lopez, This special limited edition of A Convergence of Birds follows the successful publication of the trade edition of this wonderful anthology of new fiction and poetry inspired by the art of Joseph Cornell. This book features writing from 22 of the best American writers working today; authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Pinsky, Rick Moody, Howard Norman and Barry Lopez, all invited to participate by editor and contributor Jonathan Safran Foer. The limited edition of only 225 copies is linen-bound and slipcased, and signed by each author on individual sheets of vellum that are bound into the book at the beginning of their contributions. A wonderful and highly collectable edition that will be treasured by lovers of contemporary writing and fine books. In order to insure safe delivery for this item we can only ship Federal Express 3rd Day. An additional charge of $25.00 will be added to your purchase.


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This special limited edition of A Convergence of Birds follows the successful publication of the trade edition of this wonderful anthology of new fiction and poetry inspired by the art of Joseph Cornell. This book features writing from 22 of the best American writers working today; authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Pinsky, Rick Moody, Howard Norman and Barry Lopez, This special limited edition of A Convergence of Birds follows the successful publication of the trade edition of this wonderful anthology of new fiction and poetry inspired by the art of Joseph Cornell. This book features writing from 22 of the best American writers working today; authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Pinsky, Rick Moody, Howard Norman and Barry Lopez, all invited to participate by editor and contributor Jonathan Safran Foer. The limited edition of only 225 copies is linen-bound and slipcased, and signed by each author on individual sheets of vellum that are bound into the book at the beginning of their contributions. A wonderful and highly collectable edition that will be treasured by lovers of contemporary writing and fine books. In order to insure safe delivery for this item we can only ship Federal Express 3rd Day. An additional charge of $25.00 will be added to your purchase.

30 review for A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by Joseph Cornell

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Most of this book I didn't like. Why, then, the four stars? Well, two of the stories in here are so good that I would pay the purchase price of this book just to read them a single time. But then, would we buy anthologies if books were nickelodeons and bookstores arcades? But the stories, worth their weight in parakeets: Jonathan Safran Foer's "If the Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe", and Robert Coover's "Grand Hotels" I won't say any more about them, lest I spoil the surprise, but if you end Most of this book I didn't like. Why, then, the four stars? Well, two of the stories in here are so good that I would pay the purchase price of this book just to read them a single time. But then, would we buy anthologies if books were nickelodeons and bookstores arcades? But the stories, worth their weight in parakeets: Jonathan Safran Foer's "If the Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe", and Robert Coover's "Grand Hotels" I won't say any more about them, lest I spoil the surprise, but if you end up reading "Grand Hotels" and liking it, Coover's written a secret second edition with more stories in the same lode, also inspired by Joseph Cornell. (And OK, I enjoyed "Cursive Example" and "Emory Bear Hands' Birds". And the beautiful Cornell bird pictures and biographical info. And I half-liked Dale Peck's story. In fact, this is the second Dale Peck story --the first one in the London-themed edition of Granta-- that I've half-liked. Who is this Dale Peck person, anyway? Where does s/he get off writing degraded, shiny stories I hate/love/am intrigued/bored by?) But seriously. Foer and Coover. And lots of pretty pictures of birds in boxes...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Black

    If indeed family is "that one is married, in one sense, to moments, to melodies, to spaces of possibility, to memory, to the sound of words forming in the mouth, to the purity of a age, or...to the beauty of any insignificant discarded thing," then I have now joined A Convergence of Birds in purest kinship. The beginnings of the beginnings of how the book came to begin, the middles of the middles of the aggregation of it all, the ending, which has not truly ended for me, have added to each other If indeed family is "that one is married, in one sense, to moments, to melodies, to spaces of possibility, to memory, to the sound of words forming in the mouth, to the purity of a age, or...to the beauty of any insignificant discarded thing," then I have now joined A Convergence of Birds in purest kinship. The beginnings of the beginnings of how the book came to begin, the middles of the middles of the aggregation of it all, the ending, which has not truly ended for me, have added to each other to form such beauty and goodness I can hardly hold on to it all. I carried this book with me for days, weeks, and I cannot imagine not carrying it with me in some fashion for the rest of my being, just as I do the picture of my mother in my wallet, the scent of my sister's discarded perfume. I have liked birds for long, and I will love them for longer. Thank you Joseph Cornell, Jonathan Safran Foer, and my family, the boxes and birds.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Some really strong pieces and some very disappointing ones. Interesting, in general (but not in every case) the bigger the name, the less good the piece. I will be keeping this book though, to have the plates of the Joseph Cornell boxes. And the pieces I thought particularly good were by: Howard Norman, Paul West, Robert Coover, Dale West and the editor. Some of my favorite writers have pieces in this volume that I thought fell particularly flat. Sigh. But there was a lot of playing around with Some really strong pieces and some very disappointing ones. Interesting, in general (but not in every case) the bigger the name, the less good the piece. I will be keeping this book though, to have the plates of the Joseph Cornell boxes. And the pieces I thought particularly good were by: Howard Norman, Paul West, Robert Coover, Dale West and the editor. Some of my favorite writers have pieces in this volume that I thought fell particularly flat. Sigh. But there was a lot of playing around with the surreal, and when that works it is sublime, but when it fails, it's maddening.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Other reviewers have captured my own ambivalence about this collection. It left me melancholic and suspended in unease: suitable for Joseph Cornell's boxes, which are, themselves, cool and beautiful and ambiguous. The accompanying plates of Cornell's boxes are gorgeous and worth the time and effort by themselves.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    some stories were really meh. enjoyed most of the poetry that i read though. also i didn't finish it bc.....boring.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jellie Dawn

    Reading this book was a new experience for me. I love poetry but I can't write a single poem to save my life so I have held such high regard for proficient poets from the very first time I read a poem in my early formative years. The prose and poetry inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell is just so lush with wonderful images and vivid stories. Reading this novel felt a lot like how I felt watching Hugo. Just bearing witness to history beneath your eyes and feeling the words on your mouth is jus Reading this book was a new experience for me. I love poetry but I can't write a single poem to save my life so I have held such high regard for proficient poets from the very first time I read a poem in my early formative years. The prose and poetry inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell is just so lush with wonderful images and vivid stories. Reading this novel felt a lot like how I felt watching Hugo. Just bearing witness to history beneath your eyes and feeling the words on your mouth is just breathtakingly amazing. I have this habit of imagining what was going through the heads of the writers of these magnificent poems whilst inspired by the whimsical and meaningful art or Joseph Cornell and it's something I couldn't fathom. I mean who could? His work could mean so many different things to every person. All in all, there were no regrets reading this. Just so happy I did!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sal

    I was going to give this collection a 3-star rating, but certain stories jump out at you and stick in your mind long after reading like echoes pulsating through a deep cave. Cornell's art is incredible to look it, and the brief biography JSF provides is enough to tell you all you need to know to help inform your reading. If you're going to explore this anthology, be sure to read the biographical note first, as the information can help inform your reading. One thing that's apparent is Jonathan Safr I was going to give this collection a 3-star rating, but certain stories jump out at you and stick in your mind long after reading like echoes pulsating through a deep cave. Cornell's art is incredible to look it, and the brief biography JSF provides is enough to tell you all you need to know to help inform your reading. If you're going to explore this anthology, be sure to read the biographical note first, as the information can help inform your reading. One thing that's apparent is Jonathan Safran Foer's talent, even at 23. "If the Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe" isn't perfect, but it's a really well-done piece and you can see the beginnings of the talent Foer would go on to display in "Everything Is Illuminated. Some of the stories and poems drag the collection down a bit and make for slow reading, but the handful that are very good are well worth the price of admission.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kerfe

    The main attractions of "A Convergence of Birds" are the reproductions of Joseph Cornell's bird boxes. The work inspired by the boxes is, as could probably be expected, uneven, and mostly unmemorable. Capturing the spirit of Cornell, Joanna Scott's "Slide Show" was a delight. Also asking to be read again were the poems "Construction" (John Burhardt), "Magic Musee" (Martine Bellen), and "Birds of a Feather" (Diane Ackerman), and the stories "Emory Bird Hands' Birds" (Barry Lopez), "The Appearance The main attractions of "A Convergence of Birds" are the reproductions of Joseph Cornell's bird boxes. The work inspired by the boxes is, as could probably be expected, uneven, and mostly unmemorable. Capturing the spirit of Cornell, Joanna Scott's "Slide Show" was a delight. Also asking to be read again were the poems "Construction" (John Burhardt), "Magic Musee" (Martine Bellen), and "Birds of a Feather" (Diane Ackerman), and the stories "Emory Bird Hands' Birds" (Barry Lopez), "The Appearance of Things" (Dale Peck), and "If the Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe" (Jonathan Safran Foer...Jonathan, revisit this story before you start your next book). But the boxes! all worthy of many many returns.

  9. 4 out of 5

    JJ Aitken

    Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by the Work of Joseph Cornell. This is quite simply one of those very special gems that only come along ever so often. It is a truly magical anthology of highly accomplished and stunningly inventive authors that have now given me a resource of new books to last me years. Even though the entire book is complete in its surprise and brilliance. If a flood were to appear and ruin all but the fourteen pages of The Grand Hotel by Robert Coover, I could still be cont Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by the Work of Joseph Cornell. This is quite simply one of those very special gems that only come along ever so often. It is a truly magical anthology of highly accomplished and stunningly inventive authors that have now given me a resource of new books to last me years. Even though the entire book is complete in its surprise and brilliance. If a flood were to appear and ruin all but the fourteen pages of The Grand Hotel by Robert Coover, I could still be content.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    The edition that I own of this book is probably the most aesthetically pleasing, valuable, and treasured object I own besides personal keepsakes. It is signed by all of the contributing authors and there are color plates of the artwork. I look at it and I feel like a millionaire. Foer collected some fine stories inspired by an amazing artist. It's well worth reading and feeling and looking at.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Weichhand

    I admit my attraction to this book was rooted, not in any affinity towards Cornell's art, but more so a compulsive need to absorb any and all things Jonathan Safran Foer. Regardless the motivation, in the end this was a beautiful collection of poetry and short stories with the inclusion of Cornell's art as inspiration for the pieces being equally inviting. Not a bad compilation for a college student with no experience in publishing. It's quite a bar to set.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lori Koshork

    Didn't read the fine print that this was a collection of works by other writers and all short stories that Foer collected. He wrote one himself that I read part way through but not with the same delight that I've read his novels. As a matter of personal preference, I prefer longer novels to short stories and poetry. After about 10 stories, I decided I would bring it back to the library. In my opinion the best part was the color image of Cornell boxes at the beginning of each story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Beautiful book, and beautiful, novel idea for a book. The poetry ranges from "out there", to boring, to inspiring. The artwork ranges from amazing to inspiring and back to amazing (but you know that already - that's why this book was dedicated to the artwork and artist). I borrowed it from the library but plan on buying is soon - would make a welcomed additional to my personal library. The kind of book you can pick up and read and ogle on any day.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ashy

    Could not see the images of cornell's boxes, as read this on my kindle, which was a shame. I really liked the idea of this book and the first story got me excited to read more. Unfortunately much of what was to come was a disappointment to me and I even skimmed parts which is rare for me. Some I found boring and some poetry I had no idea what it was about and not in an intriguing way! Safran Foer's piece was good, I just wish it was all so good as the start and finish...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    I am giving two stars because of the amazing concept of the book (writing inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell) and some of the imagery from the writing. Otherwise the writing was over my head in "creativity" or abstractness. it took me years to be able to get through the whole book (consistently stopping and starting of course).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I read this book on recommendation from a fellow passenger on the El who seemed enlightened about such matters, and seemed knowledgeable about other worldly things of interest. Not the best recommendation I've ever gotten. I didn't find this book all that interesting, although it was beautifully produced,a nd the story behind the bird boxes was good.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hh

    The writings didn't hold my attention at all (and I skipped most of it, after reading the first page of each different author). Mostly disappointing because I love Jonathan Safran Foer's stuff so much, and thought this would be more of the same --I didn't realize until I got it today that he was merely the editor rather than The Author.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I'm giving this a four because I really REALLY like Joseph Cornell. The book is put together beautifully, and of course Cornell's art stands out because of how awesome it is. Some of the fiction and poetry is good, although some of it is not really my cup of tea. I mostly looked at the pictures, honestly. The pretty pretty pictures.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    a collection of writings based on the art of Joseph Cornell, an eccentric and obsessive artist who I can't help but see as a hero aside from the fact that he lived with his mother for most of his life. Someone who resented "growing up", and sort of never did. Or at least did his best at resisting.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    A huge fan of Cornell, there were maybe five written pieces that really resonated with me in this collection, Jonathan Safran Foer's being one of them. However, there are quite a few lovely color photos of boxes I had not seen and it did artistically inspire, if only because it got me thinking about the artwork.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    It is sad, but I did not love this. It was so beautifully presented, with prints of Cornell's bird boxes for each story and Safran Foer makes me so excited because I've loved him so much. His story at the end was amazing, but a lot of the rest were so surreal that I couldn't get into them. Some of the poetry was nice though.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alison Smith

    A beautifully produced book; one of my sale bargains. I didn't enjoy the poetry - too obscure for my plebian taste - but I did enjoy some of the prose pieces by Joanna Scott (at last - some humour!) Robert Coovber's wildly inventive piece - would like to read more of his wor; and then Lydia Davis - weird, but interesting.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I've only read a few of these stories... and they've all been horrible. It's kind of a sad travesty of a tribute to one of my favorite artists. I was going to give them another try someday... someday perhaps far from now.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    i love concept books! j. s. foer brought this book of short stories and poems t/g - all inspired/centered around joseph cornell's collages/boxes. do i love every piece in it - nope, but i like that these stories make me think from a different angle and are not linear.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Strom

    Some of these stories i didn't like but "Emory Bear Hands' Birds" by Barry Lopez and Jonathan Safran Foer's idea behind the book and short story "If the Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe" i loved.

  26. 5 out of 5

    carmie

    I found this book to be very enjoyable. I love anthologies and collections of all kinds, and an arty tribute to Joseph Cornell fits the ticket.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rude E

    Great Cornell panels throughout the text.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    only a couple of the works in this collection really caught my attention but, if you like cornell's art, this book is worth getting for the brilliant quality of the photographs alone...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    I bought this because of the convergence of two of my favorite things, Joseph Cornell and poetry. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I was sorely disappointed. I found it dry and spiritless.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Foer edited this. The best part about this book is the letter that he received from one writer explaining that he would not submit a piece of work for publication. It's funny.

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