Virtual UHBF Author Event - Kendra Greene ("The Museum of Whales You Will Never See")
Mythic creatures, natural wonders, and the mysterious human impulse to collect are on beguiling display in this poetic tribute to the museums of an otherworldly island nation.
Iceland is home to only 330,000 people but more than 265 museums and public collections, ranging from the intensely physical, like the Icelandic Phallological Museum which collects the penises of every mammal known to exist in Iceland, to the vaporously metaphysical, like the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, which poses a particularly Icelandic problem: How to display what can't be seen?
In the Museum of Whales You Will Never See, A. Kendra Greene is our wise and whimsical guide through this cabinet of curiosities, showing us, in dreamlike anecdotes and more than thirty charming illustrations, how a seemingly random assortment of objects – a stuffed whooper swan, a rubber boot, a shard of obsidian, a chastity belt for rams – can map a people's past and future, their fears and obsessions. "The world is chockablock with untold wonders," she writes, "there for the taking, ready to be uncovered at any moment, if only we keep our eyes open."
A. Kendra Greene is an essayist, printer, and maker of artist’s books. She writes about collections and records radio essays and spends not enough time locking up wood type on a Vandercook proof press.
She began her museum career adhering text to the wall one trembling vinyl letter at a time. From there she went on to manage a collection of photography, costume a giant ground sloth, and keeps returning as a Visiting Artist at the Nasher Sculpture Center.
Her work as an essayist started during a Fulbright to teach English in South Korea, and she earned an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa and a Graduate Certificate from the University of Iowa Center for the Book under the auspices of a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. She is Associate Editor of prose at the Southwest Review and lately a Fellow at Harvard University's Library Innovation Lab.
Kendra makes books and broadsides under the imprint Greene Ink Press, and occasionally Red Thread Press, while posters are done under the name Miniature Giraffe Press. Her chapbooks and broadsides are held in the special collections of Yale, Carnegie Mellon, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Florida, University of Miami, and University of Iowa, among others. Kendra's writing is more broadly available in print publications like The Normal School, Field Working: Reading and Writing Research 4th ed., and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2010.