by Cristina Favretto, in honor of Marvin Sackner
When I first moved to Miami in 2008, I had no contacts amongst local book collectors. Indeed, I didn’t know anyone in South Florida, period! So imagine my surprise and delight when, out of the clear blue tropical sky, came one of the most coveted invitations in library-landia: a personal visit to and a tour of the magnificent Ruth and Marvin Sackner Collection of Concrete Poetry.
Marvin and Ruth were legendary figures in the world of book collecting and book arts in particular. Over the course of their 59-year marriage, they had built one of the finest collections of what we call “artists’ books” or “word-based art” in the world. And after receiving a very complete tour of their home it became apparent that they lived amongst their art pieces in the most organic and unpretentious way. They delighted in their collections, but one could tell that they truly loved the joy of connecting with artists, writers, other collectors, and librarians. Their warm welcome to a new librarian in town was typical of their generosity of spirit, and their wish to share their love and respect for art and books, as well as for the people who make, collect, and work with them.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Marvin Sackner (Ruth died in 2015). We honor his commitment to the written/printed/sculpted/painted word, his inventiveness, his curiosity, his savvy, and his desire to foster creative collaborations amongst artists, poets, and anyone who was open to the beauty of words (in any language) and the stories we can assemble with them.
The University of Miami holds 56 items from the Sackner Collection. When we open again we hope to share these beautiful book objects in an exhibition open to the public.