The Invention Tree by Jerome McGann and Susan Bee

Poem by Jerome McGann, pictures by Susan Bee.
24pp, 4-color cover plus 5 4-color drawing pages , $16
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from The Invention Tree:

Ages ancient and anterior
Hid in beatific bowers,
Stirred a Vision Bird to tell of
Flagrant hands with dreamy powers
Flicking flakes of fragrant showers
Hours and hours on vagrant flowers.
"'T is our Being Beatific
(Sang the Bird in tones terrific)
Our amazing beatific
Lady Luminosity
Lady Luminosity."

Text by Jerome McGann with drawings by Susan Bee. "This delightful book plays with words and non-words, phonetics, and poetic conventions such as metrics, rhyme scheme, and figurative language to cleverly reflect on the much debated, long troublesome, ever wonderful process of artistic creation. Jerome McGann weaves a fantasyland complete with oceans and islands, lords and ladies, demons and creatures, and the familiar trope of the tree in the garden—here it is one of invention. The imaginative nature of the work, and its mastery of allegory liken it to the whimsical cousin of Spenser's Faerie Queene in miniature. Where Spenser discussed religious morality, McGann's work is a parable of the joys and trials of the creative process, and the dilemmas an artist will inevitably encounter on the journey to inspiration. Susan Bee's artwork provides a colorful compliment to McGann's poetry, the images joining in a medley of whimsy that reinforces his charmingly quirky style."—Sarah Caitlin Ghusson

Jerome McGann teaches at the University of Virginia. His most recent book is the pamphlet from Prickly Paradigm Press Are the Humanities Inconsequent?. THE INVENTION TREE is one of a set of prosodic parodies of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, Poems for People of Uncertain Age.

Susan Bee is a painter, editor, and book artist living in New York City. Her artist's books include collaborations with Susan Howe, Johanna Drucker, Charles Bernstein, Regic Bonvicino, and Jerome Rothenberg. Bee is coeditor of M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online. She will have a solo show at Accola Griefen Gallery in May-June 2013.