â€śThe dreams drift lazily over the harder prose of the footnotes, forming a world saturated with sexual imagery and guilt about slavery and imperialism. Melancholic Presidents wander the White House hallways, grieving over dead children and spouses. Lillian Gish and Marilyn Monroe, who were half ghosts already, rub against the dreamsâ€™ surfaces. The poems are a delicious smoke curling around the Presidents; something like the fantasy air around the ad men on TV drama Mad Men, which couldâ€™ve easily been Baraschâ€™s title.â€ť
Whether youâ€™re a political junkie or an everyday voter, you may want to stop by Housing Works Bookstore on April 26 to meet Charles Barasch, the author of Dreams of the Presidents. The event will begin at 4pm with a poetry reading followed by a Q&A and book signing. Housing Works Bookstore is located at 126 Crosby Street, New York, NY. For more information about this event, visit www.housingworks.org or call 212-334-3324.
The Story Behind the Book:
About twelve years ago, Barasch had a vision: It was â€śBobo Brazil,â€ť the first African-American professional wrestling champion, pinning former President Richard Nixon to a mat. And there, staring incredulously from an imagined grandstand was Nixonâ€™s wife Pat. Barasch picked up his pen and wrote a Nixon-inspired poem, rendering it in the protagonistâ€™s own voice. Barasch went on for the next 10 years, creating presidential portraits for each of our countryâ€™s leaders. This compilation was published by North Atlantic Books in September 2008 as Dreams of the Presidents: From George Washington to George W. Bush.