“guest” chair: a charming play on “guest book”

Stacey Harwood

After reading our post on painting fabric-covered furniture, Stacey Harwood sent us an email about her great “guest” chair. “I knew a white chair would not stay white for long in my NYC apartment so I bought some fabric markers and I invite our guests to sign it. I’m happy to say that it has been signed by some of our most celebrated poets: Mark Strand and John Ashbery are toward the top; Charles Simic is on the seat. You can also distinguish Jim Cummins, Susan Wheeler and Star Black (poet, collage artist, photographer). To the lower right is Gabriella Gershenson, a senior editor at Saveur. On the left is Deborah Landau and Richard Howard…”

Harwood’s husband, David Lehman is series editor of the annual The Best American Poetry books, which is how they come to have to many fine poets and writers as friends. Their blog is The Best American Poetry.

“It’s a wonderful record of the first two years in our apartment and truly a one-of-a-kind piece that gives us much pleasure.”

Harwood improvised a whole other order of guest book…

….That long list of poets made us poke around the internet to read some poems. Here’s a beauty by Mark Strand:

The Idea

(for Nolan Miller)

For us, too, there was a wish to possess
Something beyond the world we knew, beyond ourselves,
Beyond our power to imagine, something nevertheless
In which we might see ourselves; and this desire
Came always in passing, in waning light, and in such cold
That ice on the valley’s lakes cracked and rolled,
And blowing snow covered what earth we saw,
And scenes from the past, when they surfaced again,
Looked not as they had, but ghostly and white
Among false curves and hidden erasures;
And never once did we feel we were close
Until the night wind said, “Why do this,
Especially now? Go back to the place you belong;”
And there appeared , with its windows glowing, small,
In the distance, in the frozen reaches, a cabin;
And we stood before it, amazed at its being there,
And would have gone forward and opened the door,
And stepped into the glow and warmed ourselves there,
But that it was ours by not being ours,
And should remain empty. That was the idea.

(from The Continuous Life: Poems by Mark Strand; Alfred A. Knopf, 1990)

Related posts: copy this: paint a pillow…sofa…bedspread…curtain…
blank canvas furniture

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