2015 National Book Award Longlist, Nonfiction

Michael White

Travels in Vermeer Michael White
Travels in Vermeer

Persea Books

ISBN: 978-0892554379



Poet Michael White, reeling from an ongoing divorce and custody battle, visits the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and unexpectedly discovers the consoling power of Johannes Vermeer’s radiant vision in The Milkmaid.

“A certain chain of events has left me open, on a startlingly deep level, to Vermeer’s gaze, to his meditation on our place on earth,” he writes. “Vermeer’s hushed clarity addresses me, is for me, as I stand here now.”  Over the next year, White undertakes a kind of pilgrimage—to The Hague; Delft; Washington, D. C.; New York; and London—viewing twenty-four paintings in all, including most of Vermeer’s major works.

Part travelogue, part soul-searching meditation on love and an intimate discourse on art, this erudite, lyrical memoir encompasses the author’s past—his difficult youth, alcoholism and recovery, and the early death of his cherished first wife—as well as the present. At the end of his travels in Vermeer, the future awaits, where “nothing is certain except that everything is changed.”

About the Author

Michael White studied at the University of Missouri and the University of Utah, where he earned his PhD in English and Creative Writing. He has taught at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington since 1994, and currently serves as Chair of the Creative Writing Department. White has received many awards for his writing, including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His poetry collections are The Island; Palma Cathedral, winner of the Colorado Prize; Re-entry, winner of the Vassar Miller Prize; and Vermeer in Hell, winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award, published by Persea Books. His memoir, Travels in Vermeer, was also published by Persea. White’s poetry and prose have appeared in The Paris Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, The Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.


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