The Garden of Distances
  • Author: Kelly, Robert & Brigitte Mahlknecht
  • Binding: Clothbound, sewn
  • Pages: 205
  • Size: 5-3/4 x 8-1/4
  • Pub. Year: 2001
  • ISBN: 0-929701-62-3
  • In Stock: Yes
Price: $40.00

An edition limited to 240 numbered deluxe copies, signed by Robert Kelly.
Exclusive U.S. edition.

An Italian painter and an American poet briefly meet once and, liking one another's work, decide to experiment with the interaction of visual text and verbal text. The Garden of Distances is the result: a marriage of 38 etchings with a book-length multipart interlocking poem. It was not a matter of person responding to person but of work responding to work. The pictures and texts were exchanged by fax, and the whole process carried out from afar between New York City, Annandale-on-Hudson, and Bolzano (Italy), from July to October, 1998. The distances between the artists became emblematic of the distances negotiated in the drawings and in the texts, which are like all the joyful and sorrowful distances between people.

Each time it was the drawing that came first,
then the text tried to answer it.
And to that answer the next drawing
somehow came to speak--
answer on top of answer
till the gardening was done.
Brigitte Mahlknecht's 38 etchings (two of which are reproduced in color) are finely detailed maps of the unconscious, packed spaces the sizes of dreams, archetypal spoor. Robert Kelly's poems are songs of enormous beauty, endlessly inventive, reflexive, inviting and open.

This edition of The Garden of Distances is published in the U.S. by special arrangement with Edition Per Procura of Vienna.
Brigitte Mahlknecht was born and raised in Bolzano, Italy, and now lives and works in Vienna and New York.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION about this book, please read or download our special catalogue: Robert Kelly Collaborations(PDF) (385kb)


...the work as a whole grows, thematically as well as structurally, out of many...diversions, which nonetheless intertwine to form a coherent...fabric. Brigitte Mahlknecht has contributed a good three dozen drawings to the text-image correspondence with Robert Kelly. Some are hastily scribbled, some carefully worked-out pages, which--while all have a reticulated or grid-like basic structure--are at times executed purely ornamentally, sometimes marked by figuration or elements of script. This image conception corresponds to Kelly's meandering poem, which in the book edition spans over 200 pages in the most various forms and textures, including lyrical cycles and diary-like notes, scenic and narrative sequences. The poem elegantly synthesizes urban and romantic themes, reflections on nature and art, as well as philosophical and punning aphorisms; it also does not shy away from the quotidian if not sentimental kitsch that embraces both the trivial and the sublime. Kelly wishes to have his poem understood as a "message against messages," thus as a point of resistance in the constantly rising torrent of information--as an attempt critically to stem the flood of signs and significations, to counteract them by means of direct sense perception.
-- Neue Zuericher

Robert Kelly was born in Brooklyn on September 24, 1935. He attended CUNY and Columbia University, and since 1961 has taught at Bard College. Robert Kelly has authored more than 50 published volumes of fiction, poetry and prose-poems. His 1967 novel The Scorpions first brought him a 'cult' readership...

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