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Lost & Found: The CUNY Document Initiative's is excited to announce a new collaborative partnership with Pinsapo Press presenting our first co-publication There Are No Ghosts, There Are Portraits, an exciting new book by Basil King, introduced by Ammiel Alcalay, and edited with an afterword by Öykü Tekten. From Ammiel Alcalay's introduction:

"[...] each of the texts included here — taking up figures as disparate as Billy the Kid, poets Samuel Greenberg and Isaac Rosenberg, painters Velazquez, van Dyke, Rubens, Soutine, Modigliani, Chagall, and so many others — seem to have been poured through Olson’s alembic, his “Special View of History,” as Basil punctiliously records and juxtaposes the facts “that matter,” so “fact can be fable again.” Like the vast visual and textural vocabulary of his paintings, Basil King’s latest textual landscapes portray worlds torqued into collision and relation, close to the bone and heart, close to our own felt ways of knowing. Work so condensed to its essential elements is all too rare, and the formal effect of these writings is overwhelming. Basil King’s There Are No Ghosts, There Are Portraits is a treasure that deserves both our attention and study."

Basil King’s set of portraits are as widening rings in the pool of human circumstance in which desire and the creative strike for freedom is the stone at the center. King pays attention to everything and pays no attention to art historical distances. It’s all now.
Kimberly Lyons

“I bring disparate things together,” Basil King writes. Indeed, his gift as a writer is his ability to bring widely dispersed objects together into constellations that only he would have charted.
Michael Seth Stewart

Always meandering with purpose, Basil King dwells especially in happenstance—how one life brushes against another. His personal, collective memory—colored with beauty and understanding—is infused with profound compassion.
Burt Kimmelman

Basil King is among the last living poets who touch the universal without effort, as if it were an accident of fidelity to the language it was given him to speak.
Cole Heinowitz

Watch the video recording of Basil King's book launch reading:


Born in England before World War II, Basil King is a painter and a poet who has lived in Brooklyn since 1969. He attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina as a teenager and has been painting for the last six decades. He began to write in the 1980s and is now actively practicing both arts. His books include Identity (2000), Warp Spasm (2001), Mirage: A Poem in 22 Sections (2003), 77 Beasts/Basil King’s Beastiary (2007), Learning to Draw/A History (2011), and, most recently, The Spoken Word/The Painted Hand (2014). In 2010 he exhibited his visual art at Poets House in New York. He is also the subject and narrator of a 2012 film, Basil King: Mirage, by the artists Nicole Peyrafitte and Miles Joris-Peyrafitte. In November 2014 he narrated Black Mountain Songs, including a few of his poems, as part the BAM Next Wave Festival.



Collected in: Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative