Brushstrokes and Glances

Brushstrokes and Glances

by Djelloul Marbrook

Paperback

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780982810019
Publisher: Deerbrook Editions
Publication date: 12/24/2010
Pages: 97
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 16 Years

About the Author


Djelloul Marbrook's book of poems, Far from Algiers (Kent State University Press, 2008) won the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and the 2010 International Book Award in poetry. It has been reviewed in Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Literal Latté, The Linchpin, Boxcar Poetry, and others. His story "Artists' Hill," from an unpublished novel, won the Literal Latté fiction prize in 2008. A novel, Artemisia's Wolf, is forthcoming from Prakash Books (India) in 2011. Recent poems have been published by American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Oberon, Orbis, Reed, The Same, The Ledge, Poemeleon, Poets Against the War, Hot Metal Bridge, Istanbul Literary Review, Arabesques, Damazine, and Attic. He worked for many years as a reporter and editor for newspapers including the Providence Journal, Elmira Star-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, Winston-Salem Journal, Washington Star, and others. He lives in New York's mid-Hudson Valley with his wife Marilyn.

Read an Excerpt

Foreword to "Brushstrokes and glances"

Djelloul Marbrook's poems unflinchingly celebrate and chide. With his literary brushstrokes and glances, he insightfully considers artists, critics, curators, viewers, and the works themselves. Unlike the art historian who might analyze, dissect, and uncover meaning by deploying a legalistic claim, the poet surrenders to direct feeling uncovering experiential truths that parallel the truth of art itself.

As Horace reminds us, ut pictura poesis.

The poems are kaleidoscopic: the narrator's position constantly shifts, as does the time period considered. Sometimes we are looking at a painter's process. Another moment, we are situated within a painting itself, a detail of the composition. Next, the style or the artist's biography becomes a metaphor for a human condition or desire.

In Lucian Freud and my mother, Marbrook captures the opportunistic, ruthless quality of that particular bird of prey—the painter—for whom all is fair game. By contrast, Georges Seurat (Studies for A Sunday Afternoon on the Grande Jatte) is a gentle appreciation the artist's fleeting Symbolist preparatory drawings for the large signature pointillist work now in the Art Institute of Chicago. Undersides of leaves, a poem evoking the late, photography- inspired work of Corot, describes the shimmering halation of moving leaves from the perspective of one of the leaves integrated in Corot's largely monochromatic composition. In Shabtis (The Brooklyn Museum), Marbrook playfully identifies with an ancient Egyptian burial figurine that performs chores in the afterlife for Queen Nefertiti and escapes the burden of quotidian temporal existence.

Praise, admonishment, and acceptance inform Marbrook's agile narrative voice. Making an unexpected analogy between an ineffectual government and Caravaggio's force of character, Marbrook champions the artist in A government like Caravaggio. At times a poem takes on a reprimanding tone as in The critic speaks, which could refer to the poet's view of the critic or the critic's view of the world. A pale of words, a sweet description of a sixth century BCE grave stele representing a little girl and her youthful departed older brother, sadly reflects art's limited but significant ability to withstand profound human loss.

Djelloul Marbrook's poems unexpectedly animate the visual arts due to the multiple fanciful perspectives and succinct identifications of art- related realities. In My mother dying, Marbrook, at high personal cost no doubt, recognizes the desire of an artist to, on one hand, remain childlike and thus have access to all that primary process material, and, on the other, marshal skills to transform experience into art allowing one to live for a thousand years. After all, life is short. Art is long.

Brushstrokes and Glances is as well a welcome companion to anyone interested in poetry and its role as a sister art to a broad history of visual art. Marbrook ranges from contemporary artists to anonymous ancient Egyptian sculptors. His vision invokes the delight of promiscuous wandering in New York's best museums, the Metropolitan, the Frick or the Brooklyn Museum. Nothing remains static in this merry-go-round of the senses where, "The eye is best that distrusts the mind."

Lucy L. Bowditch
Associate Professor of Art History
The College of Saint Rose

What People are Saying About This

Barbara Louise Ungar

Djelloul Marbrook's new book is a love letter to art and art museums: "Shabtis," the first poem, concludes, "I'd like to stay here/when the lights go out." Paintings and artifacts alike come alive under Marbrook's gaze. Neither artist nor critic, but son & nephew of artists of some renown, Marbrook reveals an intimate connection with both made objects and their makers. See "Garden in Sochi, 1943," or "Undersides of Leaves," for example, which mysteriously capture the elusive experience of looking at Gorky and Corot, respectively. In other poems, like "Accordion of Worlds" and "Egyptian Faience," he effortlessly marries history and art. Throughout (as the title poem ends), "we never know/exactly who we're looking at/or, just as important, what." Djelloul Marbrook looks at art the way a drinker drinks—deeply, passionately, and desperately, as if his life depended on it. Reading these poems makes you want to run out to your favorite museum and look again, as you have never looked before, until the lights go out.

Michael Roy Meyerhofer

Djelloul Marbrook is one of those colossal poets able to bridge worlds —poetry and art, heart and mind—with rare wit, grace, and sincerity; a soft-spoken artist with the courage to face the "fatal beckoning" of his muse. Here is crisp intellect, seamlessly interwoven with loss and longing. The result is poetry at its best: at once both gritty and refined, private and political, tender and tough as iron. Again, Marbrook has given readers of contemporary poetry something well worth reading.

Maggie Anderson

Through precise and knowledgeable poetry about visual art, Djelloul Marbrook has made a book almost as good as visiting a museum. In fact, the poems here about museums, galleries, and studios are as penetrating as the ones about the art. Marbrook has lived in a world inhabited by paintings (both his mother and his aunt were noted painters) and these poems testify to years of careful seeing. Brushstrokes and Glances is an intimate book, rich with sly humor, sharp detail, and deep engagement. I will see my own favorite works of art with new attention for having read these beautiful poems.

Foreword

Djelloul Marbrook’s poems unflinchingly celebrate and chide. With his literary brushstrokes and glances, he insightfully considers artists, critics, curators, viewers, and the works themselves. Unlike the art historian who might analyze, dissect, and uncover meaning by deploying a legalistic claim, the poet surrenders to direct feeling uncovering experiential truths that parallel the truth of art itself. As Horace reminds us, ut pictura poesis.
The poems are kaleidoscopic: the narrator’s position constantly shifts, as does the time period considered. Sometimes we are looking at a painter’s process. Another moment, we are situated within a painting itself, a detail of the composition. Next, the style or the artist’s biography becomes a metaphor for a human condition or desire. In Lucian Freud and my mother, Marbrook captures the opportunistic, ruthless quality of that particular bird of prey—the painter—for whom all is fair game. By contrast, Georges Seurat (Studies for A Sunday Afternoon on the Grande Jatte) is a gentle appreciation the artist’s fleeting Symbolist preparatory drawings for the large signature pointillist work now in the Art Institute of Chicago. Undersides of leaves, a poem evoking the late, photography-inspired work of Corot, describes the shimmering halation of moving leaves from the perspective of one of the leaves integrated in Corot’s largely monochromatic composition. In Shabtis (The Brooklyn Museum), Marbrook playfully identifies with an ancient Egyptian burial figurine that performs chores in the afterlife for Queen Nefertiti and escapes the burden of quotidian temporal existence.
Praise, admonishment, and acceptance inform Marbrook’s agile narrative voice. Making an unexpected analogy between an ineffectual government and Caravaggio’s force of character, Marbrook champions the artist in A government like Caravaggio. At times a poem takes on a reprimanding tone as in The critic speaks, which could refer to the poet’s view of the critic or the critic’s view of the world. A pale of words, a sweet description of a sixth century BCE grave stele representing a little girl and her youthful departed older brother, sadly reflects art’s limited but significant ability to withstand profound human loss.
Djelloul Marbrook’s poems unexpectedly animate the visual arts due to the multiple fanciful perspectives and succinct identifications of art- related realities. In My mother dying, Marbrook, at high personal cost no doubt, recognizes the desire of an artist to, on one hand, remain childlike and thus have access to all that primary process material, and, on the other, marshal skills to transform experience into art allowing one to live for a thousand years. After all, life is short. Art is long.
Brushstrokes and Glances is as well a welcome companion to anyone interested in poetry and its role as a sister art to a broad history of visual art. Marbrook ranges from contemporary artists to anonymous ancient Egyptian sculptors. His vision invokes the delight of promiscuous wandering in New York’s best museums, the Metropolitan, the Frick or the Brooklyn Museum. Nothing remains static in this merry-go-round of the senses where, “The eye is best that distrusts the mind.”
Lucy L. Bowditch
Associate Professor of Art History
The College of Saint Rose

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