A 2014 National Book Award Semi-Finalist
In the midst of a bad divorce, the poet Michael White unexpectedly discovers the consoling power of Johannes Vermeer's radiant vision. Over the course of a year, he travels to Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Washington D.C., New York, and London to view twenty-four paintings, including nearly all of Vermeer's major work.
"A certain chain of events has left me open, on a startlingly deep level, to Vermeer's gaze, to his meditation on our place on earth," White writes.
Part travelogue, part soul-searching investigation into romantic love and intimate discourse on art, this erudite and lyrical memoir encompasses the author's past--his difficult youth, stint in the Navy, alcoholism, and the early death of his first wife--and ends with his finding grace and transformation through deeply affecting encounters with the paintings of Vermeer, an artist obsessed with romance and the inner life, who has captivated millions, from the seventeenth century until now.
Praise for the book:
"All the sorrow of love is compressed into White's memoir. But so, too, is all the consolation of art. Nothing I've read...suggests so eloquently what [Vermeer's paintings] hold for a contemporary viewer…Figures it took a poet to get it this beautifully, thrillingly right.”--Peter Trachtenberg
"[Travels in Vermeer] touches on the mysteries of seduction, loss, and the artistic impulse. It shows how time can be interrupted."--Clyde Edgerton
“This book is a treasure and a guide. It is a type of healing for the intellect and the heart."--Rebecca Lee
About the author:
Michael White is the author of four award-winning collections of poetry. He lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, and heads the creative writing department at UNC-Wilmington.
See also the companion volume, MIchael White's Vermeer in Hell, winner of Persea's Lexi Rudnitsky / Editor's Choice Award.
Original Trade Paperback / $17.95 (Can $20.95) / ISBN 978-0-89255-437-9 / 192 pages / Memoir, Literature, Art History