The Allure of History
How long does it take to write a historical biography? Of course there’s no answer to that. Or, just say, however long it takes.
Lyn Millner took roughly five years to research and put together her first book, The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet. It’s a fascinating look at one of Florida’s strangest, yet influential figures.
Teed lived in the latter part of the 19th century, into the 20th century. He started his own religion (he deemed it a mix of science and religion), called Koreshanity. Eventually he was able to lure a couple hundred people, mostly women, to give up their material things and follow him.
The Koreshans spent some time in Chicago, but eventually they found themselves moving to Estero, Florida. There, they built their homes, started their own printing and publishing company, and incorporated a town, and even started a political party.
But, they believed in celibacy. So unless they could continue recruiting new members, they were doomed to fade away.
Near a golf course in a gated community of southwest Florida, there is a place where the last bits of the Koreshan history remain.
That image was made on a manual typewriter. It was done with numerous ribbons and colors, and each punch of the key had a different pressure.
That’s one of the interesting aspects of Concrete or Visual Poetry. They are produced, sometimes, on manual typewriters through this process of figuring out what one can do with the machine. That’s something that cannot be done with a laptop.
This was one of tens of thousands of visual poetry pieces that are part of Marvin Sackner’s collection. He told me that he, with the help of his late wife Ruth, acquired almost a quarter million pieces of art over four decades. His home is literally a museum. The Sackner’s recently published a book with a lot of their collection: The Art of Typewriting.
I couldn’t believe the experience of being in his home. Almost every inch of the walls were covered with incredible works, some small, others large. There was a small indented space underneath his stairway that was filled with these white block letters. It looked as though someone was making a giant bowl of alphabet soup.
The book is unique too because every cover is different from every other book. If you think you’ve never seen Concrete Poetry, chances are you have. Definitely worth digging into for the joy.