Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Is She Available - An Interview and Review with Author Igor Goldkind - updated

Igor Goldkind - Is She Available?

A Collection of Poetry, Illustration, Music and Movement - will be published on the 24th of March 2015

By kind permission of the author
Goldkind has used the Internet as another tool in his creative toolbox. He had already popularised the term “graphic novel” during its formative years. He has now used the graphic artists that he championed to illustrate his poetry. The artist’s index reads as a directory of creatives you know and those you would like to know. Cavalli, Fabry, Farrow, Henkel, Lloyd, Kane and Sienkiewicz to name but a few. For the British readers, Goldkind's main book designer Rian Hughes hails from London, Dix comes from Wales and Mal Earl from Yorkshire.  Go on the Internet and use a common search engine to look these artists up.

Igor also uses the Jazz composer Gilad Atzmon to add a further dimension to his poetry. A collection of 15 poems will also be available as a CD with Atzmon’s interpretation to Goldkind’s reading. 

Plato’s Retreat may give us an idea of the poetry to come. Igor wants to ask questions in his poetry, he wants to make the reader think and even ask questions of their own. The accompanying illustration by Rian Hughes echoes this poem by placing Plato and his drinking chum within today’s urban landscape.

By kind permission of the author

Sedition of the Innocents instructs us and wow, what an image by Henkel, the award winning creative of art, film and future creators. Geometric forms, be they an Imperfect Sphere or a Wheel of Hate, deal with our thoughts and emotions. Following on from these poems are ones that reflect on Igor’s history; be hotter of his father, his race, his geography of past lands and mindscapes.  

By kind permission of the author
A questioning double page spread of separates the first set of poems and a Glen Fabry illustrated journey through part of the American Heartland. I really admire the stark monochromatic illustration and poetic lines of My Heart Is…It acts, to me, as a sorbet in a meal, cleansing the literay taste buds before we can fully embrace the delicate lines of both the art and the words of What Peter Said to Wendy.

By kind permission of the author
Igor has worked hard to find these artists whose work so well reflect his words. Be it a hyper-realistic yet surreal Parisian street scene of Farrow, the design of the book, the graphic novellas, the photographs and the typography. Igor’s “Afterwards”, found before the list of artists that act as a contents page, gives us an idea of Mr. Goldkind’s multi-media plan. His trilogy of themes that flow and mix have been created for you. 
The Consumer. 
The Reader. 

By kind permission of the author
I don’t want to tell you too much more of what treasures lie ahead but suffice to say, it is worth the journey into Mr. Goldkind’s poetic mind with his creative entourage. He hopes to ask you questions  he hope you will answer some of them, he hopes that you will continue to interact with this work. This is a piece of work that will last and pave the way for a future medium. 

Enjoy the journey, bathe in the illustrations, listen to the poems and thank Mr. Goldkind.

eBook ISBN: 978-1-60312-302-0
Hardcover edition: 163p Full Colour Throughout 6 1/2” x 9’ (165mm X 228.6mm)
eBook publication March 17th available at
USA Hardcover published June 2nd (Chameleon Publishing Inc.)
UK Hardcover published April 30th (Chameleon Publishing Inc.)
Is She Available


On the 16th of March, I got the opportunity to interview Mr. Goldkind through Facebook, here is that interview:

Taking A Line: How would you describe Is She Available in one sentence?

Igor Goldkind: A contemporary Dante's Inferno, a journey through the confessional landscape of a masculine identity, my own. 

TAL: You are known for promoting the term "graphic novel" for the term of a collection of linked comics, how did you get to work in Forbidden Planet and what did you find from it that helped you for your collection of poetry?

IG: I didn't know much about comics when I first got the job so I spent a lot of time on the shop floor talking to "punters" finding put what they were reading and why. This is how I first heard of Watchmen, the second issue had just come out. And of course there was a young be-jacketed Neil Gaiman who befriended the new kid in school and gave me the benefits of his comics education that he had only just picked up from Alan Moore. I was writing poetry long before I got into comics but I suppose what my FP experience taught me was that the market, the buying audience is a moving target and always ready to try new forms if they're backed up by the quality and that merits interest. We'll soon see if that applies to Is She Available? Poetry for comic fans...ha!

TAL: It seems that you learnt your trade through cultural osmosis, so would it be right to say that comic book fans, the geeks and other urban sub cultures can easily move from on genre to another? 

IG: I think the categories, the Cartesian nature of how art and culture is presented to us needs to be undermined. In fact, the Avant Garde, Picasso and Andy Warhol did just that: art unencumbered of social trappings. Comics work as art because they were largely ignored as being channels for artistic expression; until some smart artists and writers quite skillfully filled the need. Comics and comic illustrations are good ways to tell a story, I want to see if they can tell more just sequence, but narrative dimension as well.  With poetry, for example. 

These days the Internet presents u s with a quantum access to any creative expression from any period of time, whether it's packaged in a school room, an art gallery or between the covers of a comic. As far as Sequential Art is concerned, let's focus on the first word: Sequence. We all live our lives in a linear fashion, trying to make sense of what happens to us next and what we can do to maximise the positive results of our actions. Sequence is how we create causal meaning between events; but this Causality is an aesthetic, a projection onto events; although we behave and thinks as if things just 'happen to us'...Music is sequential art. The thing is, that in our heads we live in static frames, but in life we live in the flow of  time: a constant falling forwards and the inevitable 'leaving-behind'. Music scores that pace and film gives us mini composites of seemingly sensible sequence. But that's movies, not the way real life works, which is based on our breathing and the rhythm of our heart beats. Exactly where poetry comes from, that beat, that breathe, that sound of a falling tree when you’re not there.

TAL: The poems are beautifully illustrated by a wide range of artists, how did you approach them and what direction did you give them for illustration?

IG: When my publisher Amy Sterling first approached me to publish a book, the most material I had was my poetry, so she agreed it could be the first of a 3 book deal: Poetry, Short Story Anthology and then my first novel The Plague. When Amy then said they wanted to do an eBook, I suggested that with the right budget, it could be illustrated by artists I knew. We set a production budget and then I sent an entire portfolio of some 30 poems to some 20 artists I had either worked with previously or knew by reputation. My challenge was to choose a poem, any poem (or none) from the portfolio that touched the artist in some way and then to visually interpret it in whatever mode or medium they desired. The only artist who turned me down referred me to his friend, Lars Henkel, who proved to an incredible discovery. There was relatively no editorial input on my part from the text to the poems the artists chose, with the exception of the cover artist Bill Sienkiewicz who had never been approached to illustrate a poem before and with whom I spent a couple of several hour long discussions between coasts, including my reading the poem THE DARK CLOUD to him down the phone so he could get the emotional riff I wanted for both the poem and the cover. Ryan Hughes, as well, was a great rediscovery for me as an artist in his own right; the book is elegantly and intricately riddled with his photographs and typographic interpretations of the poems.

TAL: Was it from Amy Sterling or yourself that decided to extend the project to include a tour and music-based poetry readings for a CD and how did you find your musician, Gilad Atzmon?

IG: I had been a fan of Gilad's for several years previously and he recognised me as a regular attendee of his gigs. We got to know each other casually and when I asked him if he had ever considered scoring poetry (he's produced successful urban folk singers like Sarah Gillespie),  he had asked me to send him my poems. Two weeks later he sent me a 2 word email that just said "it's good". From there, Gilad organised the rehearsals, the studio recording in NYC and the idea for the tour and the separate CD. It's spoken word for the Jazz audience. 

TAL: Have you found Facebook or other social media invaluable for the creative process for Is She Available? You obviously are taking the launch of career as an author seriously, why start with poetry? 

IG: This project was born, conceived and produced on the web using social media. Amy Sterling only ever contacted me after spending a year reading my Facebook postings before she decided to take a chance on me. All the briefings and interactions with artists were done on line through Facebook, Twitter and SKYPE. The international nature of this book was born out of the network media. I started promoting the book back in April with a couple of Facebook pages dedicated to individual poems in the collection. In 10 months over a half million people became aware of my poetry and expressed a like or a comment about a poem or image they had seen. That's what I call real crowd-source; I'm not collecting anything, I'm giving  information to a certain discerning niche of the public about a publication they've already expressed an interest in. Even just 1 or 2 percent of those people who know, actually buying my book or downloading the ebook is enough to make the whole venture not only aesthetically fulfilling, but commercially viable. IS SHE AVAILABLE? is absolutely a product of the Internet and the networked, computational age. 

TAL: Will you be using social media to promote the tour? With the publication of the ebook, IS SHE AVAILABLE, would you recommend doing a similar project, where you collaborate on an international scale through the Internet, to other creatives? 

IG: Yes, in fact because we're on a budget. I'm going to be following Amanda Palmer's example of asking if the band can crash on people's couches and use their bathrooms. We also will want to be able to eat all of their food. 

Would I recommend it? Yes and no. Yes I would recommend trying it because anytime you try something new it makes a difference, it ploughs a furrow other might find interesting especially, they have a sense of time. 

No is the answer, if you're unwilling to take a great risk for the sake of personal statement. I've looked deeply into myself over the past 15 years out of necessary as much as choice and I've found some things there that might prove useful to others when looking they’re within themselves as well. Ultimately any artist wants to give the public some kind of medicine for what ails them; be it laughter or tears. 

In the end, it may simply be that IS SHE AVAILABLE? is a useful map for people who might be looking in the darker corners of their own inner territories. 

TAL: I guess, we need to look into the darker corners to find the light. Why do you think humans have a need to be artistically creative?

IG: Drive is a better word than need. It has to do with the primal relation between the individual and the group. We are communal animals and yet our intellects differentiate us; the need for the intellect to reconnect (like a fallen archangel) to the communal whole is why introverts and schizoids  like me want to attract your attention. We want to impart the personal that is universal and channel the crucial synapses any community needs to be cohesive and reflective on its own collectiveness, and it's collective understanding of what it is to be human and real. 

TAL: Thank you, I fear that I have learnt a lot more you than you have from me. 

IG: Education is always exchange. You've given me a platform to articulate and thus clarify my thinking and beliefs, and then hear if the words I've chosen pass through the filter of your understanding. Thank you! It's greatly appreciated. 

is available


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  2. Thank you Peter, you made the semi-incoherent seem comprehensible. Just a couple of clarifications : " it ploughs a furrow other might find interesting especially, IF they have a sense of time.

    No, is the answer, if you're unwilling to take a great risk for the sake of personal statement. I've looked deeply into myself over the past 15 years out of necessity as much as choice; and I've found some things there that might prove useful to others when looking there themselves.

    Ultimately any artist wants to give the public some kind of medicine for what ails them, be it laughter or tears."

    Thanks again!

    1. Thank you Igor for your comments and the chance to interview as well as review such an interesting collection of poetry. Good luck with the book as well as the extras of this transmedia publication.