Broken Rooms is a conversation between the haiku of Ellis Avery and the sculpture of William Corwin. Avery wrote the haiku originally in 2011, composing one a day. The haiku in that year-long text chart the daily, the seasonal, the spatial, the personal, and the eternal. Broken Rooms juxtaposes selected haiku from 2011 with photographs that echo the poems’ dual preoccupations with loss and space.
Corwin works primarily with plaster tiles that have been broken and arranged to create a mental city-scape that, like Avery’s poetry, communicates a presence that has passed and a past that is eerily present. Avery’s haiku, in turn, allow the reader to access the austerity and abstraction of Corwin’s sculptures through a lens that catches and breaks open their crumbling formations in a New York moment.
“Any random Tuesday, a flower blooming, the look in a passing stranger’s eyes, a mediocre sunset. The heart of a haiku: Ellis Avery has it.” Michael Stipe
“Photos of evocative sculptures by Will Corwin add a wistful, lovely visual element to this marvelous little book, which grasps the whole world in a handful of syllables.” Brenda Shaughnessy
“With as much literary ambition as spiritual grace, Ellis Avery makes us feel the spin of the seasons in the heart of the city. Hers is an exquisite contemporary sensibility–Japanese-inflected, New-York-spiced–that registers, savors and treasures every moment, whether of amusement, irritation, lasting love or grief.” Emma Donoghue