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"I've been in Florence for now two days, still brutally jet-lagged. I keep waking up at a 4 or 5 in the morning. These have been slow, long days. Already a pace aggressively different than the last few weeks in LA for me. It feels good though. There's a kind of whiplash, still reeling from the absurd, unnecessary non-stop-ness of my end-of-semester weeks in late April/early May. Many things to learn from, which is why it feels so good to be here. And why I write to you now, not simply because it's been far too long, but also because you are an inspiration! I cannot help but think about your travels and yes, your wisdom, when reeling slowly and pleasurably, freshly here in Tuscany."
—Erik Benjamins, Butts of Florence
In 2006, Erik Benjamins, a Los Angeles-based artist, spent six months in Florence, Italy as an American student abroad. Eight years later, in 2014, he returned for six weeks to teach, walk, watch, think, eat, and learn. Butts of Florence, published now for the first time by No Style Press, is a collection of writing and photographs taken during this six-week stay. Formally stunning black and white photographs of the butts of various Florentine sculptures punctuate writing that adopts the forms of diaristic entries, appropriated letter writing, travel guide tips, restaurant reviews, and poetic prose. Together, text and image build the arc of a humorous, hungry, critical, introspective, romantic, and grateful visitor to one of the most storied cities in history.
"This compact volume packs a punch-the perfect literary companion for a jaunt to Italy. A game changer."
—Dr. Anthony Martin, molecular biologist and director of PATAO