The term still life did not come into being until 1650. The French adopted the term nature morte, dead nature, around 1750. The painter de Chirico was said to have preferred the Italian term vita silente. The Japanese, however, call still life, calm things. Calm Things is the title essay of this collection of meditations on what it is like to live with still life, and to live poetically. Both an insider’s glimpse into the precarious world of artist and poet, and a long gaze at objects and the calm and silence they hold, these essays prize the ordinary, radiant gift of common things.
“Despite jostling between objects and emotions, Lemay rarely succumbs to sentimental reverie without purpose; nor does she attempt to make bric-a-brac shimmer with empty words. In a kind of Roethkean or Keatsian sense, Calm Things describes the imaginative power commonplace objects hold.” - The Malahat Review“In part a consideration of the mysterious life of objects, in part a meditation on the art of still life, in part a love song to her husband, visual artist Robert Lemay, and in part a reflection on the craft of poetry, this is a book in the tradition of Rilke’s Letters on Cezanne.” - Prairie Fire