Basil King carries within him a profound array of things seen and things heard first hand, things whose immediate memory is fading from our world ever faster. And these are not just “ordinary” things but encounters with the lives and visions of some of the greatest creative minds of the post World War II era. This is not to say that Basil King is some relic, a storehouse of bric-a-brac from the past: on the contrary, his ability to apprehend the here and now in light of what he knows, and to find his own form for it, is our very sustenance, a path to be taken right here and right now, a way through the morass we are in. These qualities are brilliantly displayed in recent writings that take up figures like Billy the Kid, poets Samuel Greenberg and Isaac Rosenberg, painters Velazquez, van Dyke, Rubens, Soutine, Modigliani, and Chagal. While we thought he was a painter, and he certainly still is, Basil King’s latest textual landscapes portray worlds torqued into collision and relation, offering us new ways to interpret our histories transposed through time, close to the bone and heart, close to our own felt ways of knowing.
Edited with an afterword by Öykü Tekten.
“‘I bring disparate things together,’ Basil King writes. Indeed, his gift as a writer is his ability to bring widely dispersed objects together into constellations that only he would have charted." —Michael Seth Steward
"Basil King’s set of portraits are as widening rings in the pool of human circumstance in which desire and the creative strike for freedom is the stone at the center. King pays attention to everything and pays no attention to art historical distances. It’s all now." —Kimberly Lyons
"Basil King is among the last living poets who touch the universal without effort, as if it were an accident of fidelity to the language it was given him to speak." —Cole Heinowitz
"Always meandering with purpose, King dwells especially in happenstance—how one life brushes against another. His personal, collective, memory—colored with beauty and understanding—is infused with profound compassion." —Burt Kimmelman
Literary Nonfiction. Poetry. Hybrid. Art.
Basil King, born in London, England before World War 2, has been painting for over seven decades and writing since 1985. He does both in Brooklyn where he has lived since 1969. He has published ten books and a dozen chapbooks of poetry since 1997 and over his lifetime has completed several thousand works of visual art in oils, inks, pastels, and mixed media. King's visual art is in the collections of the New York Public Library, Yale University, the late Morton & Lita Hornick, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Grand Valley State College, University of Kansas Museum of Art, State University of New York at Buffalo, the Gladstone Collection of Baseball Art and in private collections including that of Tom Seaver. Some 770 paintings are professionally stored.Author City: BROOKLYN, NY USA
Öykü Tekten is a poet, translator, archivist, and editor. She is also a founding member of Pinsapo Press and a contributing editor and archivist with Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative.