Published Work

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Axel Vervoordt: Portraits of Interiors

Flammarion, 2019


Seventeen homes demonstrate how Axel Vervoordt incorporates nature, art, and timeless interiors to create living spaces that encourage self-reflection, inspiration, and happiness. For a half-century, the company's vision has been defined by a continual quest for harmony, beauty, and the creation of interior atmospheres that are rooted in the past, connected to the future, and imbued with today's comforts. These eighteen residences--from an urban New York penthouse or Moscow apartment to a waterfront estate in New England, and from a Tokyo dwelling to a Bordeaux wine château or a Wabi-Sabi farmhouse--reveal how art complements the architecture and the elements of nature in an alchemy of Vervoordt expression. Portraits of each residence--including the Vervoordts' own homes in Venice and Belgium--feature sweeping vistas of the surrounding landscape and a tour through the interiors. Each detail--from the materials used to the graceful placement of a well-chosen object--offers deep insight into the Vervoordt design approach and abiding principles for living and working well.

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Wim Vanlessen: Dancer

Hannibal, 2018


This book is an ode to dance. It's a tribute to the very precise, timeless form of physical expression, known as ballet, told from the perspective of a man who has spent more than thirty years of his life devoted to the art that many try, yet few master. This book answers the question: whom does a dancer need to be? Part memoir, part visual history, and pure joy, this book offers insight into the life and career of Wim Vanlessen, principal dancer for the Royal Ballet Flanders. On the cusp of his farewell to the company after more than two decades in the spotlight, Wim recounts key moments from his personal life that have shaped him as a dancer and a man. He’s a person that has placed his passion above all else, with an unflinching and unforgiving drive to become the best ballet dancer he can be. Featuring special contributions from stars in the worlds of fashion, dance, and photography: Raf Simons, Kathryn Bennetts, Stephan Vanfleteren, Willy Vanderperre, Wendy Whelan, Stephen Galloway...

"Ballet is a mirror that I stand in front of to discover what drives, inspires, excites, scares, and surprises me. Creating this book has been a way to turn the mirror outward and to share the many words, images, experiences, and reflections with you." Wim Vanlessen

Stories and Reflections

Flammarion, 2017 (French and English); Lannoo, 2017 (Dutch)


Axel Vervoordt recounts the pivotal moments in his life that formed the foundation of his guiding philosophy and signature aesthetic. This book includes more than forty stories about the people who have influenced him most throughout his life — his family, friends, artists, colleagues, clients, and unforgettable mentors — in this nonfiction book that is personal, funny, insightful, and permeated with humility, wisdom, and lessons learned. He reflects on the key moments in his life from childhood to the present — Rudolf Nureyev’s visit to the Vervoordt’s new castle, his youthful acquisition of a Magritte, discovering Japanese Gutai art, his legendary Venice exhibitions, and insights gained from artists such as Cy Twombly, Anish Kapoor, and musician Mstislav Rostropovich. He details his greatest successes, as well as his personal regrets while offering first-hand insight into the work that has forged his reputation. A larger-than-life and inspiring man, this book offers snapshots from his life, which paint an overall portrait of his guiding philosophies.


Seneca Review: New Poems and Lyric Essays: Vol XXXV No.2 Fall 2005


Essay: "When It Was You"





"We turn to the lyric essay - with its malleability, ingenuity, immediacy, complexity, and use of poetic language - to give us a fresh way to make music of the world. But we must be willing to go out on an artistic limb with these writers, keep our balance on their sometimes vertiginous byways. Anne Carson, in her essay on the lyric, "Why Did I Awake Lonely Among the Sleepers" (Published in Seneca Review Vol. XXVII, no. 2) quotes Paul Celan. What he says of the poem could well be said of the lyric essay:


The poem holds its ground on its own margin.... The poem is lonely. It is lonely and en route. Its author stays with it.


If the reader is willing to walk those margins, there are new worlds to be found.


--Deborah Tall, Editor and John D'Agata, Associate Editor for Lyric Essays

Axel Vervoordt: Living With Light

Flammarion, 2013


Following the best seller Axel Vervoordt: Timeless Interiors, this volume of twenty new interiors expands on the Vervoordt vision for creating exceptional homes that combine natural elements, antiques, and fine art. The art of harmonious living is extolled in this volume through twenty bespoke interiors designed by the Axel Vervoordt company. Each room incorporates natural elements—light, water, metal, wood—blended with a modern aesthetic and punctuated with fine art. The Vervoordt concept of the home is revealed through a refined balance between art and nature to create timeless living spaces. The range of featured properties includes homes by the sea as well as in urban and rural locations, demonstrating a breadth of styles possible within the essential Vervoordt design principles. Photography by Laziz Hamani brings into focus both the unique design details and the carefully constructed interiors that fuse to create each striking setting. These exceptional residences are rich with inspirational ideas to incorporate into your own home so that you can celebrate your living space in the singular Vervoordt style.

At Home with May Vervoordt

Flammarion, 2012


In the same understated, covetable style as her husband’s interiors, May Vervoordt’s recipes bring out the essence of fresh ingredients in simple yet exceptional dishes. Over the past twenty-five years, Axel and May Vervoordt have cultivated a reputation for excellence in the fields of art, interior design, and entertaining. In this contemporary cookbook, May shares 107 seasonal recipes for entertaining in style. With an emphasis on the essence of individual ingredients and cooking in harmony with the seasons, May—in typical Vervoordt fashion—demonstrates that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Her dishes are easy to prepare, original, and healthful, and still allow the home chef time to enjoy the meal with guests. Grouped by season, the recipes offer a broad selection for all occasions, from Mango and Sweet Potato Salad or Sesame-Tarragon Chicken to Chocolate Fondant Cake with Pear Sorbet. Close-ups of the recipes are complemented by lifestyle photographs offering a glimpse inside the elegant Vervoordt residence.

From Boys to Men: Gay Men Write About Growing Up

Da Capo Press, 1st edition, 2006


More than an anthology of coming out stories, From Boys to Men is a stunning collection of essays about what it is like to be gay and young, to be different and be aware of that difference from the earliest of ages. In these memoirs, coming out is less important than coming of age and coming to the realization that young gay people experience the world in ways quite unlike straight boys. Whether it is a fascination with soap opera, an intense sensitivity to their own difference, or an obsession with a certain part of the male anatomy, gay kids — or kids who would eventually identify as gay — have an indefinable but unmistakable gay sensibility. Sometimes the result is funny, sometimes it is harrowing, and often it is deeply moving. Essays by lauded young writers like Alex Chee (Edinburgh), Aaron Hamburger (Faith for Beginners), Karl Soehnlein (The World of Normal Boys), Trebor Healy (Through It Came Bright Colors), Tom Dolby (The Trouble Boy), David Bahr, and Austin Bunn, are collected along with those by brilliant, newcomers such as Michael McAllister, Jason Tougaw, Viet Dinh, and the wildly popular blogger, Joe.My.God.

Sonora Review 51 

Essay: "Kekkon Suru"



     "I remember the way the rain fell on teh day she taught me how to say the word marriage in Japanese. Kekkon suru. To be married. Repeat after me. Kekkon suruMy Japanese tutor asked me, testing my comprehension of the new vocabulary, testing me, with our umbrellas still dripping in the corner of the Cherry Coffee Shop that always smelled like old bread or stale cigarettes, or the other way around. Kekkon shitai desukaDo you want to be married? Repeat after me. Kekkon shitai desukashe asked with a rising inflection on the last word of the sentence that didn't hide her curiosity.

"Do you, Michael, want to be married?" 
She was a single mother, with a daughter the same age as the junior high school students who studied the simplest of English in my classes. The same age as students who frequently left love letters in my mailbox in the teacher's room. "Maikeru-sensei, do you have a girlfriend? Please teach us answer from now on. And if no, please can we marry?" I marveled less at the question and more at the addressee, Maikeru-sensei, my unfamiliar new name that even after two weeks in Japan I was slow responding to, like everything else."

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© 2015 by Michael Gardner.