Train Music: Writing / Pictures


Late in the fall of 2017, poet C. S. Giscombe and book artist Judith Margolis boarded an Amtrak train in New York City and, four days later, stepped off another train at the edge of San Francisco Bay. Giscombe was returning home to California to address an all-white audience on the problem of white supremacy, and expatriate Margolis, accustomed to a somewhat solitary existence, was visiting the United States and making collages. Traveling together, they each turned their train quarters into writing and drawing “studios” where they engaged in conversations and arguments and shared experiences of the discomforts and failures of recent times.  

Their original intention had been to travel west and document, in journals and sketchpads, the complex, charged American landscape, but as the trip progressed—and in the months afterwards—the project took on a new shape. Train Music, the book that resulted, recollects and explores the century’s racial and gendered conflicts—sometimes sensually, sometimes in stark images, sometimes in a “mixed economy” of poetry and prose.

C.S. Giscombe and Judith Margolis
Publication date: 
November 1, 2021
Publication type: