The Written Image: Imagine Wanting Only This

From the May/June 2017 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

“Someday there will be nothing left that you have touched,” writes Kristen Radtke in her debut graphic memoir, Imagine Wanting Only This, published in April by Pantheon Books. Throughout the book, Radtke examines ideas of loss and decay as she travels around the world exploring ruined places after the sudden death of a beloved uncle from a rare genetic heart disease. With evocative black-and-white illustrations, Radtke explores the many ways in which ruin can pervade a life, whether it be mold creeping up the walls of a dilapidated Chicago apartment or the degeneration of the body through illness. “Anything we build will eventually crumble and decay,” she wrote in an e-mail to Poets & Writers Magazine. “It’s something I’ve come to find comfort in—that things we cherish can be both lasting and ephemeral.”