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Books & DVDs about Aesthetic Realism

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Self and World: An Explanation of Aesthetic Realism by Eli Siegel  Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems by Eli Siegel Hail, American Development [Poems] by Eli Siegel James and the Children: A Consideration of Henry James' 'The Turn of the Screw' by Eli Siegel Children's Guide to Parents & Other Matters by Eli Siegel
Damned Welcome: Aesthetic Realism Maxims by Eli Siegel The Modern Quarterly Beginnings of Aesthetic Realism by Eli Siegel The Williams-Siegel Documentary eds. Martha Baird, Ellen Reiss The Frances Sanders Lesson and Two Related Works by Eli Siegel The Opposites Class by Eli Siegel

Afternoon Regard for Photography by Eli Siegel

Nice Deity [poems] by Martha Baird Two Aesthetic Realism Papers: 1. Opposites in the Drama 2. Opposites in Myself by Martha Baird Personal & Impersonal: 6 Aesthetic Realists [poems] by Sheldon Kranz, et al. Aesthetic Realism: We Have Been There by Chaim Koppelman, et al.
Were They Equal? by Arnold Perey: An African Tale Retold for Our Time Gwe, Young Man of New Guinea by Arnold Perey Aesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism by Alice Bernstein, et al. and The Equality of Man by Eli Siegel Four Essays on the Art of the Print by Chaim Koppelman The People of Clarendon County by Ossie Davis, ed. Alice Bernstein


Quintillions [poems] by Robert Clairmont, with introduction by Ellen Reiss Cover image: Photography, Life, and the Opposites by Len Bernstein Social Issue Films by Ken Kimmelman DVD

Books by Eli Siegel

Self and World: An Explanation of Aesthetic Realism by Eli Siegel


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SELF AND WORLD: An Explanation of Aesthetic Realism

Paper $20.00
ISBN 0-910492-28-X

“[Self and World] calls for more fairness to all reality….The prose is fresh and clear….a book that is new — revolutionary — on every one of its 400 pages….Whether child or adult is spoken of, this book sees a person’s concerns with dignity and compassion.”

—Smithsonian Magazine

Read chapters online:

& Read reviews too:

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Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems by Eli Siegel

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With a Letter by William Carlos Williams

Paper $15.00 ISBN 0-910492-20-4

About Eli Siegel’s poems in this book, Selden Rodman wrote in the Saturday Review:

He comes up with poems…which say more (and more movingly) about here and now than any contemporary poems I have read”… more

William Carlos Williams wrote, in his 1951 letter to Martha Baird:”

I am thrilled…. I can’t tell you how important Siegel’s work is in the light of my present understanding of the modern poem. He belongs in the very first rank of our living artists.” more

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Cloth $18.00 USD
Paper $15.00 USD

Hail, American Development [Poems] by Eli Siegel

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Cloth $18.00; Paper $15.00
ISBN 0-910492-10-7 Cloth; 0-910492-23-9 Paper

The poems in Hail, American Development, writes Kenneth Rexroth in the New York Times Book Review, have Eli Siegel’s

“incomparable sensibility at work saying things nobody else could say.”  And he states:”I think it’s about time Eli Siegel was moved up into the ranks of our acknowledged Leading Poets.”  Rexroth continues: “His translations of Baudelaire and his commentaries on them rank him with the most understanding of the Baudelaire critics in any language.”

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Cloth $14.00 USD

Paper $12.00 USD

James and the Children: A Consideration of Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw" by Eli Siegel

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JAMES AND THE CHILDREN A Consideration of Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw”

Edited by Martha Baird

Cloth $14.00; Paper $12.00
ISBN 0-910492-08-5 Cloth; 0-910492-22-0 Paper

Hugh Kenner wrote in Poetry magazine:

“It is a reading so careful and candid it reduces most previous discussion to wilful evasiveness. The oddness of a literary critic constantly asking us to think about real children can suggest how odd is the criticism we’re accustomed to.”

Critic Robert B. Heilman wrote:

“It is an immense relief to find someone as good as Siegel is, refusing the fashionable explanation of the story, and looking at what it actually says. I like the way in which he constantly points out how the governess goofs or the tone goes awry, something which in my own treatment I failed to do.”

Noah Gordon, publisher of the journal Psychiatric Opinion, wrote:

“I believe it will be of particular interest to child psychiatrists. It enabled me to reread The Turn of the Screw with new shocks of recognition.…Siegel is a critic who assesses style with a poet’s ear and characterization with a philosopher’s eye.”

Noah Gordon was also publisher of the Journal of Human Stress, science editor of the Boston Herald, and a noted novelist.(http://noahgordonbooks.com/noahstory.htm).

Read Chapter 1, “Careful Hovering”

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Children's Guide to Parents & Other Matters by Eli Siegel

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Drawing by Dorothy Koppelman in "Children's Guide to Parents & Other Matters" by Eli SiegelLittle Essays for Children & Others

Hardcover $16.00 ISBN 0-910492-16-6

With a New Introduction by Ellen Reiss & More Drawings by Dorothy Koppelman

A ParentGuide magazine “Don’t Miss”:  “The ideal way to better understand your kids and prepare them for the world around them….Build a stronger bond between you and your child starting right now.” – ParentGuide (August 2003)

From the chapter “Books”

“Every time you read a book, someone else’s feelings meet yours, and mix with yours. You are always being affected by other people’s feelings; but books are the big way of bringing to a person the feelings he might never have otherwise….If you read a book about the sea, it can go pretty far in making you feel the mist on the water, the motion of the ship, the dark look of the sky, the wind that soon may be rising, the deck, and what’s underneath the deck.”

From the chapter “Caring for Somebody”

“Let’s say that a year ago (you are now eight) you met a little girl who was then six. Cora could tell you things about what everything was, make you feel new things, make you like her smile.”

Read chapters online:    Work  ♦  Books

Review of the Children’s Guide in the Harlem Times

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DAMNED WELCOME: AESTHETIC REALISM MAXIMS With a New Foreword by Dorothy Koppelman

Paper $12.00 ISBN 0-91049-18-8

“I wanted to illustrate Damned Welcome because of the combination in these maxims of humor, brevity of form, and large meaning. Eli Siegel’s diversity asked for variety from me.”  — Chaim Koppelman

Eli Siegel “can be hilariously funny, but he can also be uncannily profound.”  — Kenneth Rexroth, New York Times Book Review



“To sit in the sun is sometimes our destiny.”




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The 'Modern Quarterly' Beginnings of Aesthetic Realism by Eli Siegel

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THE MODERN QUARTERLY BEGINNINGS OF AESTHETIC REALISM, 1922-1923: The Equality of Man; The Scientific Criticism; The Middle Ages, Say; & more

Paper $10.00 ISBN 0-910492-35-2

Landmark essays by Eli Siegel on literary and art criticism, ethics, economics, human equality, history — having, writes Ellen Reiss in a new introduction,”that great, kind, true way of seeing art, the past, earth, and the self of every human being which would become the philosophy Aesthetic Realism.”

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Cloth $14.00 USD Paper $12.00 USD
The Williams-Siegel Documentary, eds. Martha Baird, Ellen ReissTo order this book
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THE WILLIAMS-SIEGEL DOCUMENTARY Including “Williams’ Poetry Talked about by Eli Siegel, and William Carlos Williams Present and Talking: 1952”

Ellen Reiss and Martha Baird (eds.)

Cloth $14.00; Paper $12.00 ISBN 0-910492-12-3 Cloth; 0-910492-25-5 Paper

From The Williams-Siegel Documentary

In his 1951 letter to Martha Baird, Williams wrote:

“He [Eli Siegel] has outstripped the world of his time….The evidence is technical but it comes out at the non-technical level as either great pleasure to the beholder, a deeper taking of the breath, a feeling of cleanliness, which is the sign of the truly new. The other side of the picture is the extreme resentment that a fixed sclerotic mind feels confronting this new. It shows itself by the violent opposition Siegel re­ceived from the “authorities” whom I shall not dignify by naming….

I say definitely that that single poem [“Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana”], out of a thousand others written in the past quarter century, secures our place in the cultural world….We are com­pelled to pursue his lead. Everything we most are compelled to do is in that one poem.”

From the lecture Williams’ Poetry Talked About, by Eli Siegel, March 5, 1952:

“The line is something Williams has always been interested in. It happens to be an organic thrust. It happens to be a combination of hardness and softness, swiftness and slowness, the visual and the musical, the spacious and the concentrated; and it is shown in what happens to the syllables, the vowels, the consonants, the kind of word used, the rubbing of one word against another, and the landscape of the line—the hills, the plains, the ditches, the chasms, the cliffs, the whole geography in the line.

“The distinction of Dr. Williams’ work is that his lines very often have the surprising and also right quality that energy shown in any field of matter whatsoever has. And when we see it attended by the emotions of a person, we get to something important.” more

About “Portrait of the Author”:

“In this poem, we have a desire to be fair to every human being, a desire to see everything justly from within. That is a noble thing, and it is very hard to stick to.”

About “The Red Wheelbarrow”:

“This is a great poem…. The value of the world depends upon that red wheelbarrow. It is in keeping with Williams’ other ideas, that if one thing can be seen straight, we shall come to a notion of a world truly of us. The technique, however, is what makes it; technique in the best sense.”

From Williams’ comments after the talk:

“I can see your direction through it, and it’s very important….Certainly you’re a rare person. It’s just as important—it’s as if everything I’ve ever done has been for you. You come up with it, and so few people come up with anything. They praise the wrong things, for the wrong reasons very often….When you say it, it’s plain. You make it plain. And it’s very forceful.”

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Book, Frances Sanders Lesson, cover image

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1. The Ordinary Doom; 2. Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?

Paper $9.00 ISBN 0-910492-19-0

From the book: “The main thing in the life of Frances Sanders was how she saw the world. The definition Aesthetic Realism has of the world is: All that different from ourselves by which we can be affected …. All literature, all painting, all music is about the effort of man to see the world in a way that pleases him, in a way that is valid, and in a way of which he can be proud …. Frances Sanders…found the world not much good; but in finding the world not much good, she endowed herself with disaster.”

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THE OPPOSITES CLASS Aesthetic Realism Class on Opposites Conducted by Eli Siegel

Martha Baird and Dorothy Koppelman (eds.)

Paper $8.00 ISBN 0-911492-20-8

From the book: “Why is a thing beautiful? Is a rose more beautiful than a cucumber? Why? When you are interested in beauty, you are interested in the details; and getting interested in the details can make you more interested in what beauty is itself.

“Both these things happened in an Aesthetic Realism class on opposites given by Eli Siegel….”

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Afternoon Regard for Photography by Eli Siegel

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Excerpts from Eli Siegel’s discussion of photography from the Aesthetic Realism point of view—

Paper $6.00

From the book: “The question of emotion in photography is the question of emotion in art. One of the things I said years ago is that great poetry couldn’t come without a great beginning emotion. Therefore it is necessary to ask what is meant by ‘a great emotion.’

“Two photographs which have caused a great emotion [are] Brady’s The Ruins of Richmond (1865) and the other is The Steerage of Stieglitz. In the Brady, this mingling of pride and ruin—the standing up of the ruins and this gutting—does something to one….”

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Nice Deity. Poems by Martha Baird*Temporarily out of print

NICE DEITY.  Poems* by Martha Baird With a Preface by Eli Siegel, “The New Simplicity; or, Towards Poetry Again”

Cloth $18.00 ISBN 0-910492-04-2

Lawrence R. Holmes, publisher of Poetry Public, wrote in his review:

“There comes, every now and then, a book of verse which, after you have lived with it a while, causes something to take place in you, and you become aware of some all but imperceptible sprouting and branching. For me, Martha Baird’s NICE DEITY has been such a book…. Martha Baird’s poems provide a rather large amount of both delight and wisdom.… Let those who think they can improve upon the diction, the syntax, and the form of these poems…, have a fling at it, just for fun. I suspect that it will prove an extremely difficult task if not an impossible one. Martha Baird, in NICE DEITY, has done justice to the idea of poetry.”

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Two Aesthetic Realism Papers: 1. Opposites in the Drama 2. Opposites in Myself by Martha Baird

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TWO AESTHETIC REALISM PAPERS by Martha Baird 1. Opposites in the Drama; 2. Opposites in Myself

Paper $10.00 ISBN 0-910492-15-8

In this book, there is that rare thing, honesty. When Martha Baird writes of the drama—Aeschylus, Terence, Hamlet in Moscow, Garrick, Beckett, and even Clurman, Watts and Kerr—you feel the drama, it; the critics, them. Simultaneously, because of the abiding opposites, and the author’s lucid, spare, and sunny style, you see her mind, her thought.

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Paper $10.95 USD


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AESTHETIC REALISM: WE HAVE BEEN THERE—Six Artists on the Siegel Theory of Opposites.

Essays on art, acting, photography. Illus. By Chaim Koppelman, Anne Fielding, et al.

Cloth $12.95; Paper $10.95.
ISBN 0-910492-11-5 Cloth; 0-910492-24-7 Paper

“The Siegel Theory of Opposites relates life to art and is basically a criterion for all branches of aesthetics. In painting, for example, it is an investigation of the genesis of a canvas, its manner of execution, and its value as a work of art. Siegel’s theory operates equally well in drama, poetry, photography, and printmaking, as the nine short essays making up this book illustrate. Two important writings of Siegel, ‘Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?’ and ‘Art as Life,’ are appended. All this adds up to an interesting little volume which can be warmly recommended for all art collections.” —Library Journal

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Personal & Impersonal 6 Aesthetic Realists -- Poems

*Temporarily out of print

PERSONAL & IMPERSONAL: SIX AESTHETIC REALISTS.* Poems by Sheldon Kranz, Louis Dienes, Nancy Starrels, Nat Herz, Martha Baird, Rebecca Fein; with a Critical Preface by Eli Siegel

Paper $12.95

Read poems online —

Sheldon Kranz:

Martha Baird

Louis Dienes:

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WERE THEY EQUAL? An anti-prejudice book for children by Arnold Perey, PhD, anthropologist

Paper $14.95 ISBN 0975981315

This traditional story of the Ndowe People of Africa was retold and illustrated by anthropologist Arnold Perey. It’s about Tortoise, who shows the big Elephant and Hippopotamus that they should not look down on him because he is small. Prejudice, says Aesthetic Realism, arises from contempt for what’s different from yourself.

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Gwe: Young Man of New Guinea by Arnold Perey, cover image

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GWE: YOUNG MAN OF NEW GUINEA, a novel against racism by Arnold Perey, PhD, anthropologist

Paper $19.95 ISBN 0-9760590-4-5

“In this book you will take a trip to the heart of Papua New Guinea, to the mountains, peaceful and turbulent, where Gwe lives. We invite you to a new understanding of the human self, as you meet Gwe, his relations, his enemies, and Alan, the anthropologist who lived with them. Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy founded by the great poet and educator Eli Siegel, is that understanding. It explains: There is a fight in every person between respect for the world and contempt for it.”

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Paper $16.95 ISBN 0-9759813-2-3  ISBN 9-780975-981320

“This book is being published with a sense of urgency and hope: urgency, because racism is still rampant in the world; hope, because there is a true, practical, kind, learnable, and yes—even beautiful—answer. It documents how, through study of Aesthetic Realism, contempt changes—not into tolerance, but into true respect for other people. “— Alice Bernstein

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Four Essays on the Art of the Print by Chaim Koppelman, cover image

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Paper $5.95 ISBN 0-9759813-0-7 ISBN 9-780975-981306

Chaim Koppelman (1920 – 2009), an esteemed printmaker, writes of the ethical meaning in some of the greatest prints of Picasso, Munch, Hogarth and Daumier.

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THE PEOPLE OF CLARENDON COUNTY—A Play by Ossie Davis with Photographs & Historical Documents, & Essays on the Education That Can End Racism. Edited by Alice Bernstein

Paper $14.95 ISBN-10: 0-88378-287-1  ISBN-13: 978-0-88378-287-3

This play is about the parents in South Carolina who risked their lives to file the first legal challenge to segregation in public schools. Their case led to Brown v. Board of Education and the historic 1954 Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation. The book includes biographical information on Ossie Davis; photographs; accounts of the civil rights struggle; and essays, based on the philosophy Aesthetic Realism, which explain the cause of and answer to racism. Ruby Dee, Academy Award Nominee, says of Alice Bernstein and this book:

“In her commitment to telling the story of the civil rights struggles…Alice uncovered the play, ‘The People of Clarendon County.’…It moved my husband to think that fifty years later, school children might learn about history by reading or acting in his play.

“In addition, Alice’s book will also inform people about the success of the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method in enabling children to learn every subject, and ending prejudice in the classroom.”

  Read an article about the play, Ossie Davis, and Third World Press

  Article about a presentation based on the book at Tulane University Law School

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Books-Quintillions-finTo order this book
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QUINTILLIONS By Robert Clairmont, with a new introduction by Ellen Reiss

Paper $15.00 ISBN 0-9776588-0-5

First issued in 1928 in a limited edition of 500 copies. Reviewed then by Conrad Aiken, who said of it: “An unusually delightful book…carries humor into poetry unruffled, with all its wings and feathers. It is humor, and yet, because (precisely) it has this vox,this odd something-or-other, this bloom of innocence of the sly, this consciously bright air of always stopping (or frequently, not to flatter the author too much) at the point of maximum suggestion, it is poetry.”

“The poetry of Robert Clairmont is wild and exact,” Ellen Reiss writes, “It has yearning and toughness, humor and depth. It is POETRY—the real, honest, musical thing.”

♦  Link to Ellen Reiss’s introduction, which includes discussions by Eli Siegel of two of Clairmont’s poems.

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Cover image: "Photography, Life, and the Opposites" by Len Bernstein

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By Len Bernstein

Hardcover $40.00  ISBN 0984676538

“I love this book and its philosophy of photography based on the Siegel Theory of Opposites. Len Bernstein’s career is an exceptional one, and within these pages you will find a master photographer and critic at work.” —George Hobart, former Curator of Documentary Photographs, Library of Congress

“Len Bernstein’s photographs touch the one who looks at them directly in mind and sensitivity….He gets close to people, but at the perfect distance, which is a good and unusual quality in a photographer.” —Anne Biroleau-Lemagny, Chief Curator, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris

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Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana DVD

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by Ken Kimmelman

DVD $20.00

The film is based on the esteemed 1925 Nation Magazine prize poem, read by its author, Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism.

“Ken Kimmelman’s reproduction, on film, of Eli Siegel’s magisterial poem, is an extraordinary achievement. It matches, in its visual beauty, the elegance of Siegel’s words, and adds the dimension of stunning imagery to an already profound work of art.”Howard Zinn, historian

Awards: Best US Short, Avignon/New York FF; Gold Remi Award, Houston Int’l FF; Best Short Drama, New York Short FF; Platinum Best of Show, Aurora Awards; Premio Informazione,TamTam FF, Italy; Best Editing, Chicago Short FF; Best Experimental Short Film, Big Apple FF; Grand Festival Award in the Arts, Berkley FF; Integral Realization, Golden Gate FF; Achievement Award, Putnam Valley FF

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Social Issue Films by Ken Kimmelman DVD

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SOCIAL ISSUE FILMS [DVD] by Ken Kimmelman,
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker

The Heart Knows Better, Brushstrokes, What Does A Person Deserve?, & Asimbonanga

DVD $20.00

♦ “The Heart Knows Better” received the EMMY Award for Outstanding Public Service Announcement. A film against racism based on a statement by Eli Siegel, it was selected by the UN High Commission on Human Rights for Human Rights Day in Geneva in 2001 and continues to play nationally on TV and at Yankee Stadium before every home game.  (60 seconds)

“Brushstrokes” received the Coe Award & Best Children’s Film ASIFA-EAST. Produced for the UN, it shows through delightful animation, humor, & music, the ridiculousness of prejudice. (6 ½ min.)

“What Does A Person Deserve?” was awarded Best Public Service Film for the Year 2000 by the Santa Clarita International Film Festival. A film against homelessness and hunger, it asks the urgent question first asked by Eli Siegel: “What does a person deserve by being alive?”  (109 seconds)

 “Asimbonanga,” produced for the UN, got the Paul Robeson Award at the Newark Black Film Festival & many other awards. It depicts the injustice and cruelty of apartheid in South Africa, choreographed to the song “Asimbonanga” performed by Joan Baez & written by Johnny Clegg.  (6 ½ min.)

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