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Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell (New York Review Books Classics) [Hardcover]

Charles Simic
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

20 Mar 2007 New York Review Books Classics

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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 116 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics (20 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590171705
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590171707
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 12.4 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 605,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Remains one of the best introductions to the reluctant surrealist. It is a touchstone for art writing and a virtuosic work of ekphrasis.


About the Author

Charles Simic is a poet, essayist and translator. He has published twenty collections of his own poetry, five books of essays, a memoir, and numerous of books of translations. He has received many literary awards for his poems and his translations, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Griffin Prize and the MacArthur Fellowship. Voice at 3 A.M., his selected later and new poems, was published in 2003 and a new book of poems My Noiseless Entourage came out in the spring of 2005.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dime Store Alchemy 27 July 2009
This is an engaging interpretive access point to the imaginative and eclectic works of Joseph Cornell. It's not a must read nor a biography but another artists insight into the expansive possibilities of Cornell's world. Cornell's boxes act as gateways to dreamscapes full of potential, they offer stillness and beauty; are poetic in themselves. Simic does justice to the vision that is unmistakably Cornell's.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!! 6 Aug 2001
By patrick Thompson - Published on
Reading Dime-Store Alchemy is a fine way to get to know Joseph Cornell's work (and of course Charles Simic's). Simic uses a writing style which pieces together different elements of Cornell's favorite authors and poets, beautifully reflecting the montage operation created by Cornell himself. As Simic ambiguously reveals aspects of Cornell's life in New York City, the reader finds him/herself on the same search for an understanding of beauty that the artist spent his entire life investigating. Don't miss it!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dime Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell 25 May 2007
By Shirley C. Wilson - Published on
This elegant book reminded me of "Einstien's Dreams." The book is about the genius of imagination. Cornell's provincial life gave him the opportunity to observe his world closely and let it expand into his art. The writing by the poet Simic is a piece of art in itself.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you loved the Cornell show at the Peaboday- Essex 29 Aug 2007
By Pera - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Then you will love this book of short essays and responses to Joseph Cornell's work by our Poet Laureate. It's amll and without a dustjacket, quite elegant and easy to take with you to read when you find yourself with a few spare minutes.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall in love when you hold it in your hand! 13 Nov 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This adorable book is a pleasure to hold in the hand! 7.25" x 5" and bound in midnight blue cloth lettered in silver and with a Cornell image applied to the front cover it is the perfect size and shape for this group of appreciations and quotations from Joseph Cornell's notes by the poet Charles Simic. I'm in love! But it is only fair to admit that I was a beeg fan of the work of both men before I ever saw this volume. It would be a treasured gift for that quirky, discerning friend.
23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Woops! Only 8 photos on this book. 7 Feb 2010
By Stuart Pearson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After reading the reviews, i was eager to receive this, especially as I'm only beginning my journey into the mind of Joseph Cornell. I was disappointed. The book is tiny - there are photos of only eight of Cornell's works and the prose, although nice, really isn't all that enlightening or inspiring, giving me nary a "hmm" factor.

It's a lovely little book for what it is, which isn't much. If like me, you're just discovering Cornell, this is not the place to start. I wish I knew the best place to point you, but I'm looking for that myself.
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