New Songs, by Otto H. Selles and Geraldine Selles-Ysselstein
2001. 90 pp. ISBN 1-894710-14-2.
New Songs explores biblical and spiritual themes by fusing free-verse poetry with woodcut illustrations. Otto Selles' verse reflects on familiar biblical phrases and themes, at times taking on the points of view of biblical figures from Goliath to Judas. The lino-cut illustrations by Geraldine Selles-Ysselstein accompany the poems to create a gallery of words and images that fuse poetry and art while portraying a faith that questions, suffers, and doubts, yet ultimately finds humility, hope, and trust.
"In a variety of moods and humors from droll to almost terrifying, Selles explores biblical and spiritual themes with great ingenuity. Selles shines a light outward, and from various angles, so that we may see anew what has always been there, or see for the first time possibilities beyond our usual ken. This collection - so inventive, so alive with intelligence - is wonderfully complemented by the art of Geraldine Selles-Ysselstein. The result is striking. Altogether, what we get is what Matthew Arnold promised, and in a way he hadn't intended. Arnold looked at the Sea of Faith and heard only its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar. At such a time especially, we sense how much we need awakened in us a wonderfully full, new, and intimate sense of things, and of our relations with them." - from the preface by Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
"I was given this lovely compilation of new songs from a friend for an early Christmas present. I was very intrigued not only in the title as I am a musician but by the artwork of Geraldine who was a former art teacher of mine in highschool. The poetry and artwork make are a wonderful compiment to each other. Selles has taken thoughts, stories, parables and themes so familiar to me and presented them in a fashion that is so refreshing to the soul. I read the book in one sitting and shared many of the poems to friends and collegues. Thank-you for you hard work and excellence. It will bring joy to many." - Sara-Lynn Weiler (Website Review)
Otto H. Selles is Professor and Department Chair of French at Calvin University.
Geraldine Selles-Ysselstein has over 30 years of experience as a working artist. She received her BA degree from Calvin University in Fine Arts and French, and continued her education at the University of Guelph (Ontario) in Fine Arts. She now lives and works in the Canadian maritime province of Prince Edward Island.