Reviewed by Meghan Forbes
The Bauhaus school—founded in Weimar, Germany in 1919 by the architect Walter Gropius, relocated to its own campus in Dessau in 1925, and shuttered in Berlin in 1933, the year Hitler became Chancellor of the Third Reich—is both one of the great failed utopic visions and one of the most enduring successes of the twentieth century. Its lasting influence in architecture and design can be seen everywhere from the IKEA catalogue to Google's logo. Yet the school remained in operation precisely as long as that brief breath of optimism between the two world wars, when artists dared to imagine a post-war ideal of rationally applying new technologies not towards the obliteration of society, but rather its betterment. Gropius emphasizes in the first Bauhaus manifesto an underlying aim “to bring together all creative effort into one whole, to reunify all the disciplines of practical art […] as inseparable components of a new architecture.” A Doll for Throwing, the most recent collection of poems by Mary Jo Bang (her eighth in total, and fourth with Graywolf Press) opens with a poem—“A Model of a Machine”—that captures elegantly the Bauhaus ideal, which Gropius had described in its founding manifesto as being “to bring together all creative effort into one whole, to reunify all the disciplines of practical art […] as inseparable components of a new architecture” . . .