Bagatelles for Cornell

Poems by Lee Ann Brown and images by Karen Pava Randall. An homage to the early 20th century collage artist and inveterate wanderer of New York City, Joseph Cornell, the book evokes the cityscape through a sequence of photomontages. Each image, capturing a seemingly discrete moment in time, is a layering of several moments. It is the history of New York apprehended in an instant. Randall’s images blend contemporary digital and early modern technology, using 19th century photochemical techniques (cyanotype & gum bichromate processes) to print montages created in Photoshop. There is a utopian / dystopian quality to these photographs – composed from various sources.

Lee Ann Brown

is a filmmaker, performer, writer, and the editor of Tender Buttons Press ( She teaches at St. John’s University in Queens on Utopia Parkway near where Cornell lived. Robert Hass, in his review of her Polyverse, wrote “Among younger American poets, Lee Ann Brown is one of the wittiest and most inventive.”

Bagatelles for Cornell is accordion bound and is nested in a telescoping box containing a bottle labeled: Utopia / Kalligraphischetinte / Sacré Bleu. The text was printed via letterpress by Randall at Wild Carrot Letterpress in Hadley, MA, in an edition of eight, of which only one remains for sale @ $2000.