Saturday, January 15, 2011

What May Have Been : Letters of Jackson Pollock & Dori G-- By Susan Tepper & Gary Percesepe

A BagelBards Book Review

“What May Have Been”
Letters of Jackson Pollock & Dori G
By Susan Tepper & Gary Percesepe
Cervena Barva Press, Price $15

Reviewed by Paul Steven Stone

“What May Have Been” is an epistolary novel chronicling the passionate clandestine relationship of Jackson Pollock and a younger, Vassar exile named Dori G. Reading at times like a poetic skirmish in the courtship wars, “What May Have Been” has all the color, energy and brilliance—not to mention abstract logic—of one of Pollock’s paint-spattered canvases. The language is rich and (on Pollock’s side) fevered and scatological; the novel’s energy propelled by a heady mixture of raw desire and intimate longing.

Rendered by two writers who clearly enjoy crafting lives and ideas from words, the novel is even more remarkable for the fact that each of the authors gave voice to the character of the opposite sex. Their efforts succeed so well it is impossible to detect one false step or inappropriate allusion in this rigorous literary challenge they set for themselves. And so, throughout the novel and its artfully drawn relationship, the voices ring true.

“What May Have Been” portrays the shadow life of an iconic modern artist through letters fanciful, impetuous and most of all, richly entertaining. It is highly recommended.


  1. This review of our novel by Paul Steven Stone is truly stunning, perceptive, intuitive and instructional. Many many thanks to Paul, and to Doug for placing it here on his always inspiring Boston Small Press Scene.

  2. Thanks Paul for your review of this book. I appreciate it so much and thanks to Doug too.
    Cervena Barva Press

  3. Thank you for the review. I'm looking forward to reading this. It's a wonderful premise!

  4. Mary Anne, we appreciate so much your support of our book.
    Cheers! Susan