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CANYONS by James Belflower and Matthew Klane

7x9, 106 pages w/ 26 full-page color plates, $25

In James Belflower’s and Matthew Klane’s Canyons, image and text combine in a powerful, profound reimagining of “Manifest Destiny” and its virulent consequences. The fragmented lines and images of tangled topographical maps create a landscape through which “the mind clamors for answers.” But there are no answers—there is no coherent mapping possible for the land become “trinket store.” In its white space dwarfing the words on each page, Canyons gestures toward the ultimate preeminence of the natural world, which dwarfs man’s futile attempts to divide, conquer, and tame it. “My voice / is lost / in the view,” one speaker claims, and that is as it should be.

— Laura Sims

Gorgeously wrought collages and visual poems; textured, and hortatory lyrics; visionary letters to nineteenth-century geologist and explores John Wesley Powell—these are just some of the linguistic and pictorial strata that make up Canyons. Belflower and Klane have collaborated here to make an important genre-bending contribution to contemporary literature: This is a stunning work of geoaesthetics and a potent meditation on the history of the American west. 

— Michael Leong