Short Story Anthology

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Wisteria Pentimento:Haardt to Haardt-A Southern  Short Story Anthology

By Anton Haardt  

If Sara Haardt is the Empress of Southern gothic writing, then her niece Anton Haardt is perhaps the princess. The stories perplex, confuse, amaze and make you happy that people can write like this.

  This  book   of Southern fiction  short stories create characters  reveal the mind, heart and skin.The stories  are richly illustrated   in photo-collages,   mostly from  Anton Haardt's    shetches, Photographs , and Paintings.

 

The intricacies of human relationships are the primary theme in this collection of short fiction. Anton , like her Aunt Sarah Haardt's work, combines wonderfully wicked humor and an astute perception of human psychology. Their ear for dialogue is superb and lyrical.This is a remarkable compilation of short fiction.

Anton Haardt’s   creations   proves  that  blood runs thick-  seperated by  a  generation  they both write  from the "Haardt"


"My aunt, Sara Haardt, a Southern expatriate writer who died young of tuberculosis , married H. L. Mencken, the famed Baltimore critic in 1930.Now with a revived interest in her life andwritings, this  Anthology  is in Memory of my aunt  and  includes  a few  of  her southern genre short stories with   illustrations"

 

 

Informal in style, this collection of the two writers work explores how daily life and writing  has been a part of both their lives and a remedy of their love hate relationship with their heritage in the Deep South. Each shared some of the same fears, and experiences. Sara Haardt and Anton Haardt, the last line of the Haardt family, possessed both beauty, brains and ambition. Also, both were lucky enough to be born into families that had the financial wherewithal to provide them with every advantage. They attended the best schools and shared similar social experiences together, even dating the same type of boys. (Both attracted to "the savant")

Anton Haardt  kept   personal  journals   since she was a teenager, filling    countless  cloth- covered   journals with her  writing. Although she is known as an artist and collector of folk art, she also is an accomplished writer. Some of her essays  have been  published in  periodicals such as  England's "Raw Vision Magazine"  and  in books such as Bill Arnetts "Souls Grown Deep:Vernacular Art of the  South". Anton  also fled the south for similar reasons as  did her Aunt Sara, and  as  her  aunt Sara , Anton's stories  share similiar subject and style...only    created  some  50 years later.


This Anthology  of stories by Sara  Haardt and Anton Haardt show an interesting bridge between a  century of  two southern writers. Anton Haardt  has illustrated a few of her  Aunt's stories in this collection. One especially is the short story , "The Rattlesnake Charmer". Written in 1917, this  story won her first acclaim in her writing career with  the Award.  The story takes place in a southern town where the  daughter of a  prominent family takes off with the travelling circus to become a rattlesnake charmer. 

Anton Haardt's stories are  sometimes  based on  real characters  like "The Auction", about  Belzora Kemp Basker , a 94 year old heiress of Selma. Another story, titled-" Miss Bessie",  is a story of a spinster woman in Montgomery who might have been the subject of another famous Montgomery writer's story.  Zelda Fitzgerald, Sara Haardts  good friend, wrote a short story of  a very similar spinster  -titled "Miss Ella", but in rough manuscript  Zelda had  titled the story "Miss Bessie" -

One  character  in a  short story  by  Sara Haardt was  a confederate  war hero,buried in a glass coffin mausoleum.  His beard grew and his finger nails long and curled until one day in 1906 a vagrant broke the glass to steal his solid gold war medal on his chest. He is entombed  in Oakwood Cemetery, a historic Civil War cemetery covered in gnarled oaks and draping magnolias.A similiar story written  by Anton  Haart takes place in the same Oakwood  Cemetery-  about  two heiresses from Froggy Bottom. They search for truth and honesty in a vengent world of wicked weejuns and polo shirted golfers.  To balance their wealth , their heritage , and understand their being,  they return to  the deep south to reclaim what's rightfully theirs.  This epic scenario of 90-year old fathers , blue haired mothers , and neer do wells , they claim what is theirs. .

Quotes on  the Back  Cover 

   "Haardt combines things seen with things imagined.  Patterns from Mexican clothes might emerge later as a decorative border around a turtle.  She offers us languorously flowing forms along with colorful and exotic visions that transport the viewer to a world of exciting escape.” Mitchell Kahan

Mitchell Kahan is visual arts critic, and former executive director of the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio

 

                                                                                    

 

"Her creations read like vignettes and offer portals into the world in which Haardt lives and creates.  While they provoke numerous attempts at serious interpretation they may be seen also as flights of fancy, or collections of cherished objects like a child’s secret treasures, primitive yet sophisticated at the same time." Jim Upchurch  

 

Jim Upchurch  is  past  Editor for  The Montgomery Magazine, Montgomery Alabama

 

 


"It is because Anton understands so well the perspacity of the child in us all that she is able to transcend the passivity of pure form . . . and it is through this marvelous consciousness that she converts by magical symbols her fears and dreads into her own greater magic.  Her pictures are indeed charming but they are also powerful charms.” Thomas Moore 

                                                                                               

Thomas Moore is an Artist  and  former Art Professor at Huntingdon College, Montgomery Alabama

 

 

“Haardt’s dark eyes, intense and probing, bore into you making you wonder what’s she’s discovering inside, what secret’s she dredging up. The very molecules around her seem to be in a wild explosion”.Henrietta McGuire


Henrietta McGuire is an Author, Editor/Founder of River Region Magazine and former First Lady Of Costa Rica 

 

 

 

“She uses symbols from the primitive side of Latin America and the Caribbean, and their kindred Southern Black Folk Art.  Pattern and decoration is also a reflection of her life—luxuriously decorated with spontaneous patterns of isolation and travel:  isolation from middle-class virtues and freedom from the puppet-like routine it implies.” Nall Hollis 

 

Nall Hollis is an  Internationally known Artist , protégé of Salvador Dali, and Head of the NALL Foundation                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

 

 

"Haardt is  Montgomery’s prodigal daughter, returned home with treasures from afar. She .infuses the tropical sensuality of her life in the jungle of Yelapa, Mexico, with the street fever found in the decadent and subversive city of New Orleans, which she also calls home.   Haardt, both  invites and repels, as in her painting of ”The Snake Charmer”, The hypnotic stare of the snake charmer promises secrets to behold, but she's flanked by two out-turned palms guarding her like sentries and warning  all those who dare to enter.” Nancy Jarzynko

 

Nancy Jarzynko is Costume designer or various Films, such as “The Big Fish”

 

 Let’s Get Lost:Raquachismo:

A Journal of Short Stories 

By Anton Haardt

Raquachismo is a slang term from the Spanish

raquero -  to plunder wrecks / /chismero - tale bearing gossip 

 

    Let’s Get Lost: Raquachismo: Travel Vignettes is  an intimate journey into the lives of  obscure  people and places , revealing the spirit and soul of a place. It is an anthology  taken from the  past twenty -five years of my journals,  with illustrated drawings and  photographs. Initially I thought I would  have  it printed just  as ordinary text. I finally decided that the two, the story and the  imagery  were inextricably linked. It would have been  ashame not to show the pages with added imagery. I don’t think about these labels much, but it is not  just ‘a short story’. I think  of it  as  ‘a collaged story”..

Anton Haardt

 

"In  Haardt's meanderings and  her observations ,  she is  struck by the irony and the ecstasy of a Oaxcan peasant woman carrying a perfectly iced white wedding cake...on her head; or caught on a crowded zocolo in a Manaus rubber plantation boomtown on market day; or  sensing  the feel of, and the weight and smell of a decapitated pig's head happily being held by a small Honduran boy....A fast and furious flight through the miasmic annals of  Haardt's  cabal is the only way to travel when you're suffering from the been there, done that,  blues.  She is a latchkey writer of the twenty-first century still wondering why nobody is at home, and here begins the still to be continued journey." Xenia Zed

 

   

Xenia Zed is Director of the Hambridge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences in Rabun Gap, Georgia,  Editor in Chief of Art Papers Magazine and Assistant Dean at the Atlanta College of Art,

 

BOOK COVER   QUOTES

“Coming from a root bound Southern family, I took flight.  I was drawn especially to the primal and primitive, Indian tribes, tropical animals and fauna, bringing their jungle into my life and art.  I paint sometimes like a palmist, not knowing what fortune I will find until I look closely.  In my art I play, I contemplate, I learn, balancing order and chaos.”

Anton Haardt

 

 

“Born in 1948 in Montgomery, Ala.,  Anton Haardt studied at Washington University in St.Louis and later at the San Francisco Art Institute, from which she received her BFA degree in 1971.  Haardt’s prints, drawings, collages and assemblages have been exhibited in New Orleans, Montgomery, Key West, as well as Paris and several cities in Mexico.  Resulting from her travels to Central and South America, the Caribbean and North Africa, Haardt combines things seen with things imagined.  Patterns from Mexican clothes might emerge later as a decorative border around a turtle.  She offers us languorously flowing forms along with colorful and exotic visions that transport the viewer to a world of exciting escape.” Mitchell Kahan

 

Mitchell Kahan is visual arts critic, and former executive director of the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio

 

                                                                                    

 

“There is in Haardt’s work a sense of private spectacle and public ritual.  The spectacle is found in the fetish aspects of symbols and signs used in the works; the ritual character is revealed in their repeating patterns and ordered surfaces. Haardt’s work displays a disciplined imagination and technical skill of considerable sophistication creating a personal appeal associated with piqued curiosity.” James R. Nelson

                                                                                   

James R. Nelson is visual arts critic for The Birmingham News, and former executive director of the Alabama School of Fine Arts. 

 

 

 

 

“By using kitschy, ordinary elements and presenting them in a sacred shrine-like format, Haardt dares this work to be taken seriously, and seems to call into question what constitutes art, its message, and its elements.  Perhaps Haardt is asking us to reexamine the ordinary elements in our own lives and see what art can be found there.”

Christine Neal

                                                                                   

Christine Neal is  past visual arts critic for At Papers, and Curator of European and American Art at The Museum of Art and Archaeology at The University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri , B.A., Bucknell University; M.A., University of Wisconsin; Ph.D., University of Missouri.

 

 

 

“The drawings, sculpture fabricated from found objects, and shrine-like shadow boxes that utilize innovative reproduction methods, demonstrates Anton Haardt’s range and depth.  The shadow boxes read like vignettes and offer portals into the world in which Haardt lives and creates.  While they provoke numerous attempts at serious interpretation they many be seen also as flights of fancy, collection of cherished objects like a child’s secret treasures. The repetitive motifs used for background or framing behind or around her primitive yet sophisticated paintings, collages, and prints are subordinate to the subjects yet tied to them with artistic unity.” Jim Upchurch  

 

Jim Upchurch  is  past  Editor for  The Montgomery Magazine, Montgomery Alabama

 

 

 

“Anton is the child/conjuror.  Sacks of torn paper, potato-stamp stencils and assorted scraps of cryptic images are her tools from which she plumbs talismatic messages from her own psychic depths.  Anton becomes in her artmaking a kind of magician re-experiencing in each piece the ancient ritual of summoning form out of formlessness, order from chaos.  It is this totemic component of Anton’s work that gives it its electricity and separates it from the kind of superficial quaintness characteristic of most folk-type art.  Her collages in particular are childlike in execution disdaining the facility her years of formal training has given her.  It is because Anton understands so well the perspacity of the child in us all that she is able to transcend the passivity of pure form . . . and it is through this marvelous consciousness that she converts by magical symbols her fears and dreads into her own greater magic.  Her pictures are indeed charming but they are also powerful charms.” Thomas Moore 

                                                                                               

Thomas Moore is an Artist  and  former Art Professor at Huntingdon College, Montgomery Alabama

 

 

 

 

“She uses symbols from the primitive side of Latin America and the Caribbean, and their kindred Southern Black Folk Art.  Pattern and decoration is also a reflection of her life—luxuriously decorated with spontaneous patterns of isolation and travel:  isolation from middle-class virtues and freedom from the puppet-like routine it implies.” Nall Hollis 

 

Nall Hollis is an  Internationally known Artist , protégé of Salvador Dali, and Head of the NALL Foundation      

 

 

 

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