“Foam came after fog, then dust, then nothing. We saw our lives and our world vanish.” Mina Polen

Nothing lasts. Nothing is fixed or stable. The universe we live in is the embodiment of violent change. So are we, shaped and reshaped as we are by the violence of genes, hormones, relationships, our environment. But this should not make us despondent or negative; the ephemerality of everything is what makes it so wonderful, so impossible to fix in words or concepts.

Ephemera is not a poetic-pictorial essay on the topic of the ephemeral. It has no point to make, no philosophy to peddle. It has arisen from a freely creative collaboration between poet Mina Polen and artist Viviana Hinojosa. Mina’s elegant prose poems and Viviana’s gorgeous drawings take us into a dream world where familiar symbols are given new life, where animals and objects transform under our gaze. Words and pictures have a quiet, understated quality, behind which all is turmoil, restlessness, longing, violence. The effect is intoxicating.

There is an intriguing relationship between each text and its illustration. Viviana’s responses to Mina’s words are clever but playful; central images are elaborated on, enriched by a multitude of associations. Texts and pictures work well on their own, but achieve brilliance in combination.There is a more elusive (but no less compelling) relationship between the pieces in the sequence. So I urge you to read the book like a novel. Take each page in turn. Do not be tempted to jump ahead.

It will not take you long to read Ephemera, but its pages will flit like butterflies in and out of your mind for years to come.

You can buy the book here.

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