Upon opening Under the Kaufmann’s Clock, Angele Ellis takes you to the streets of Pittsburgh where you immediately feel at home. The narrator seamlessly interweaves the characters and relationships in her life with the city, and insists that you sit down with her at the local café to study the ground beneath. To compliment the gritty and oftentimes stark moments of pain, are photographs by Rebecca Clever. Clever captures the vulnerable and iconic elements of Pittsburgh without pretense or ego. Community and relationship drive both the works of Ellis and Clever.
Ellis walks us through the four seasons which take on a unique tone in the city. The first poem, “Landscape,” from the “Spring” section of the book, vibrates with a sense of longing and beauty that can only be found when entering the city from the Tubes. The author respects the city but also has a deep love for it. Pittsburgh not only informs the work of Ellis but also the relationships she fosters within the confines of her home base. It is as much a celebration of the rhythmic changes of life as it is a portrait, delicate and honest, of the city itself. Whether or not you have ever traveled to or lived in Pittsburgh, you will walk away feeling like you know the culture of the town and will end up wishing you were there. Like the mica found on the streets and in the ground of Pittsburgh, history and renewal embrace and invite the reader to absorb the words and photographs, one more time.