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Poet Paulette Beete’s art selects + reading recs

Who could use more reading material? You know, the deeply satisfying, totally transportive, crucially non-news-related kind. Us. We could. And if, like us, your attention span is also riding the struggle bus these days, our newest Literary Gallery is the perfect bite-sized infusion of bookish brilliance. Nothing’s more life-affirming on a Monday than the promise of some excellent reading and ogleable art in your future.

Our extra special art + lit curator of the day is poet and author Paulette Beete. Her paired texts, like her own work, are genre-spanning (though we’d be remiss to mention that poetry’s her self-appointed life partner). These selects run the gamut from fiction to memoir to poetry, even a play mixed in for good measure. And as with all our Lit Galleries, this exercise in artful matchmaking also serves a dual purpose as a mighty fine recommended reading list. Don’t leave Beete’s writing off that list—her sleekly spun words are sure to soothe the soul. Peep her book + print pairs below. 
— Team 20x200

If you try to pair books and art, you will suddenly forget even the vague outlines of any book you have ever read. Then you will look through every single art work on this website hoping they bring something to mind. You’ll hope the same while staring at your two bookcases and the two baskets overflowing with books behind the couch and the favorite books on the bookshelf in your bedroom. You’ll panic. Then you’ll be sitting on your couch, a pile of beloved books at your feet, and suddenly something will spark. You’ll collage your way through your list of 10, conjuring pairs that make you laugh and sigh, pairs that are obvious and not so obvious, and pairs that will make sense to you alone. This process will be frustrating and maddening but something will have changed in you. And though you can’t yet articulate that shift, isn’t that exactly what we want from art, regardless of the form?   — Paulette Beete

Red, White & Royal Blue and September Shade

Journal of a Solitude and Siren

Colette: The Complete Claudine and In Your Face

Jane Eyre and Ideal Bookshelf 42, JMM

Citizen: An American Lyric and Washington, D.C. Government charwoman

Life on Mars and S68-27366

WHEREAS: Poems and American Mobile Home

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and To live with you alone, Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee

The Custom of the Country and Climbing Wall No. 3

Unaccompanied and Hulk

The 411 on Paulette Beete

Paulette Beete is a writer whose work has appeared in journals including Crab Orchard Review, Escape Into Life, Beltway Quarterly, and Always Crashing among others. Poetry is her lobster and they're also on a break right now. Find her on Instagram at @mouthflowers.