The Very Image of Geometric Elegance
Wee Review of "Charles Harper's Birds & Words"
by Tom Cat-Jones
Jacket of "Charles Harper's BIrds & Words" by Charles Harper, 1972. Foreword by Todd Oldham, 2008.
Who better than a vagabond black cat to review a sublime bit of birdery and art?
I'm Tom Cat-Jones, and I'm a friend of Joe the Cat's. We went to art school together; Joe took the path of photography and I majored in dark room roguery.
Joe has hired me as a reporter and producer for Mr. Doodle's Dog. I'm no Henry Fielding, or even an Albert Finney, but I do know my wildlife. Dark rooms taught me that, well before the Digital Age.
No art critic beneath this black frock coat and matching whiskers, but then the artistry of Charles 'Charley" Harper needs no words.
And words you will find little of in this book. They're unnecessary. They would weigh the soaring plummage and tinker toy skeletons down. These birds dance their trapezoid tangoes and flamingo fandangoes until the viewer soars with them.
Notice the white wisps announcing the Snowy Egret? He looks like a white-turbaned Arab. We have a neighborhood egret named Fred; now I see Fred in an entirely different view. Perhaps I should bow to him.
What about "Cardinal"?
Harper's cardinal inspires more devotion than his red-robed counterpart. No shoes on this bird. He's all finch and no grinch. Sunflower seeds in 60s Space Age pattern.
Cactus wren, on skull. Can even a bird navigate on such legs? Harper's birds can.
The birds fly on and on ... each page and bird an "ooh" and "aaahh".
How can even a feline vagabond summon the words for such a collection? I can't. Time for me to walk away on my little cat feet and open up my copy of "Charles Harper's Birds & Words." Birdfeed for the soul.