Posts Tagged ‘Anne Panning


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day 100 (Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2007)

Hurray. Finally, it’s Day 100 in the Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine Tour. I’ve been saving the Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 for quite some time and for quite some occasion. While tonight is a quiet night, here’s what’s been going in the last couple of weeks. Hmm. How to order them. I thought of listing by order of importance or magnitude, but, hmm, they are all pretty big. So randomly.

Finally, I got new job! Yay. Thanks Gerry Fish. I’m going to be an editor, which is something I love to do. The job begins Monday in St. Louis. I’ll stay there for a week. Then the rest of the gig is working from home.

Working from home on my new laptop. A Toshiba Satellite P705D with an AMD A6-3400M APU with Radeon HD Graphics 1.40 GHz processor, 8 GB of RAM (thank goodness. that’s really what I wanted most), Windows 7 Home 64-bit, and 640 GB hard drive.

What else. Oh, Redactions: Poetry & Poetics issue 14 – The I-90 Poetry Revolution with guest editor, Sean Thomas Dougherty came out and we had a release party reading for it. It was a great reading held at the Alumni House at SUNY Brockport. (Thank English Department for hooking me up with space!)

SUNY Brockport is new thing. I’m teaching Introduction to Creative Writing there one night per week. I just started a few weeks ago. What fun.

I got that job thanks to Ralph Black, Steve Fellner, and Anne Panning and because I’ve a number of published books, including one that just came out two weeks ago. The book is Poems for an Empty Church from Palettes & Quills.

Poems for an Empty Church front cover

I’ve hired The Critic to speak on my behalf for this book.

The only way to shut him up is to BUY MY BOOK.

So I’ve had a lot going, and I’m not listing some other items, too. That’s enough. So tonight some good wine for the 100th day in pursuit of the juiciest wine.

Tonight’s wine is Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from Napa Valley. It was number 5 on the The Wine Spectator Top 100 wines of 2010. So the wine should be perfect for tonight.

I got the wine on hearing its name and its rank. I did not know how it was spelled. I thought it was going to be a Spanish wine from Altamira. I was hooked because I love Spanish wines and I love the Altamira Cave with all the paleolithic cave art of which I’ve been writing poems about.

Altamira Bison

Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2007Enough of this. Let’s get to this 96-point wine.

The is an inky wine that’s dark purple in color and 90% opaque. It also has a tall meniscus. Is this wine even ready?

Thinking of tall, the bottle is tall and skinny. Odd.

The nose is smoky with dark berries, cassis, and black pepper. Yet with all that going on, it’s mild. My girlfriend says it smells inky. I get a hint of that, too.

Wow, that’s weird. It almost vanishes on the finish but then resurfaces.

It’s smooth going in like liquid air. And thinner than you’d expect from a cab. It’s actually kinda flowery when it gets in the mouth. But there’s also the counter of the inkiness and cassis. The cassis is on the beginning of the finish.

When you first taste it, it’s kinda like grapes. Like grape jelly but not as sweet but with the same wobbly texture.

My girlfriend picks up mushrooms. She also thinks its weird, but she thinks it’s weird because “It’s juicy, but I can’t define any of the berries.” After some time, she gets blackberries. I agree. That is, I think I can feel and taste those little blackberry hairs that poke out from in between the little blackberry bubbles.

Blackberries with hairs

This is a really mild wine. I quit enjoy. I give it an A.

The longer it sits, the juicier it gets and spicier, too. It gets more and more delicious. I can’t believe how much better it has become in the last 15 minutes. This bottle has been open for about an hour now, and it’s blossoming. It’s slowly becoming an A+. It’s coming alive with juiciness and youthful vitality. I feel like Dr. Frankenstein watching his monster come alive or, more specifically, Young Frankenstein watching his monster come alive.

The Altamura Cabernet Sauvignong 2007 is engaging. It’s flirting with me. It’s seducing me. Mmmmmmmm. I have been seduced.//


Djelloul Marbrook’s Brushstrokes and glances

A version of this may appear in Redactions: Poetry & Poetics issue 14.

Giorgio Morandi Still Life with Bread and Fruit 1919The other day I was in an art gallery where I was going to host True and Untrue Stories – a reading with Anne Panning and Sarah Cedeno. While I was waiting for the readers and audience to arrive, a man came into the gallery with a bag of freshly baked, homemade loaves of bread. He told me the story of how over the last 30 years he had given away over 16,000 loaves of bread that he had made, and I was the 16,001st person to receive a loaf. This is an incredible, sustained act of generosity. The next morning I enjoyed the cinnamon swirl loaf of bread he gave me. It was delicious toasted and needed no butter.

Brushstrokes and glancesDjelloul Marbrook’s Brushstrokes and glances (Deerbrook Editions, 2010) is like that man with his bag of freshly made bread. And each poem in the collection is like each loaf of bread – a gift.

In fact, Brushstrokes and glances is like an art museum, especially in the first half of the book, “A jar of marsala.” Each poem in the first half is about a specific piece of art or artist and his mother, who was also an artist. I would like to see each of these poems in the museum hanging next to the artwork it is referencing. The poems, while ekphrastic poems, aren’t explications of the artwork, fortunately, but rather the poem is the artwork’s dance partner.


What Cézanne leaves unsaid
gives his colors voice –
you cannot spell this danse
of reticence and sense
with the letter c because
it shuts a door in English
the French would leave ajar.

The poems tend to be much more visual than this, but this shows Marbrook’s wit, which often comes through.

BasquiatThe poems in the first part are a reflection or a response to the artwork, or sometimes the artwork is just a trigger for the poem. Sometimes I become so involved in the poem, especially the longer poems like “Basquiat” and “Manhattan reef,” that I enter a type of dream world where there is no text and only images. In fact, while reading, my girlfriend asked me a question. I was so far gone in the book that I responded to her, “What reality am I in?” I was gone in a good way. In fact, that experience was exactly what his poem “Picasso’s bull” asks for.

Picasso’s bull
(Museum of Modern Art, Christmas 2005)

We need a museum to show us
we can unbind our captive lives
as Pablo makes a bull’s cock a loop,

the unbroken line of a steady hand
whispering to the self-important din,
Must your lives be knots and daubs?

Picasso's Bull

The second half of the book, “Accordion of worlds,” is a bit different. The tone and style of the poems are similar enough to the poems in “A jar of marsala,” but the direction of the poems’ perceptions are outward instead of inward to an artwork or an artist. Sometimes the poem even looks outward to time, like this gem:

Among broken statues

When the future started I must have missed it.
Just as well, it has never been as urgent
as the past, which I have no desire to undo
but a grand compulsion to understand.

I know the point at which the future starts.
I drown it every moment of the day
in the torrent of my intuitions, drown it
with ritual satisfaction, perhaps even glee.

I have no business venturing into it
and I can tell it doesn’t particularly want me.
Why would it, half-baked and ignorant
as I am? I leave it to the criminally insane.

The first stanza’s idea turned everything around for me. I thought the future was filled with urgency, but Marbrook is right. It’s the past that’s urgent. The past that’s always slipping away and that we look back on trying to quickly understand what the hell just happened, and often we are quickly trying to undo it. We are trying to quickly repair the broken statues. Plus, it’s only the criminally insane who are plotting, tapping their fingers, mulling, and trying to gain some control over something, and they can’t wait for that moment to arrive. Only they impose an urgency, like a usurer waiting for the next uptick in a stock price or an interest rate (the usurer part is mine and not Marbrook’s).

The Frick

The Frick

Back to the second half of the book, which also takes on a new trajectory – Marbrook being freer. He’s not confined to the artwork anymore. The artwork was a tether on Marbrook’s imagination, though a very long tether, indeed. But in the second-half poems, the poems in “”Accordion of worlds,” his wandering abilities fully emerge. I think these lines from “By the pool of The Frick” best explain:

the finest of our imaginings
is that what we imagine is possible.

Manhattan ReefThe poems in the first half, “A jar of marsala,” are Marbrook’s responses to others imaginings. The poems in the second half, “Accordion of worlds,” are his own imaginings. And now, all of the sudden, I fully comprehend his long poem “Manhattan reef.” It begins with a museum curator speaking, which is like Marbrook’s poems in “A jar of marsala.” ShabtisThis speaker speaks for about a page, and then the critic has a turn for another page. I feel like the critic, and maybe you as a reader will, too. The third speaker is the paintings, and this is like Marbrook’s poems in “Accordion of worlds.” Finally, the last speaker in “Manhattan reef” is mortality. Mortality is the segue from the first section’s poems to the second section’s poems. And mortality underscores every word in this collection, and in the second half there may be a double underscore with the extra underscore coming from his deceased mother.

In this collection, you will learn to “see between a blink and a sob,” between artist and art, and between Brushstrokes and glances.






And now a word about the book. This book is well put together. It feels good in the hands. I like its heft and texture. I like the how the typeface for the poems’ titles are Futura, a sans-serif typeface, and how the typeface for the poems is Fairfield (or a reasonable facsimile), a serif typeface. I think that little design lends to the dichotomy of the book. I would say the Futura relates to the poems in the first section, sans Marbrook (more about the paintings and less of him), and the Fairfield relates to the poems of the second section with Marbrook actively involved. The layout of the pages is also classic in style: “The ideal of the combined inner margins or gutters equal to the outer margin for instance is similar to the head margin being half of the foot margin.” That’s from the publisher’s blog entry about layout and design, which you can read here: Notes on book design, sacred geometry; good sources.

This is a good book inside and out.






Just for fun, here are some links to some other artists and artwork mentioned in the first section, “A jar of marsala.”

“We are all Van Gogh” (page 8):

“Earthworks magus (Robert Smithson, 1938-1973)” (page 9):

“Garden in Sochi, 1943” (page 10):

“Giorgio Morandi (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)” (page 11):{5D5AFA86-A086-4E14-A54B-E0FD91607074}

“A government like Caravaggio” (page 12):

“Jeanne Hébuterne” (page 13):,16,AR.html

“Adeline Compton” (page 14):

“Artemisia Cavelli” (pages 15-16):[tt_news]=221&tx_ttnews[backPid]=517&cHash=8d36c08416

“Goya in iPodia” (pages 17-18):

“Underside of leaves” (page 19):

“Cézanne” (page 20):

“Basquiat” (pages 21-23):

“Georges Seurat (Studies for A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte)” (page 24):

“Francisco de Zurbarán (The Metropolitan Museum, 2008)” (page 25)

“Lucian Freud and my mother (Etchings, Museum of Modern Art, February 2008)” (page 26):

“Pallas Athena” (page 30):

“I saw Mona Lisa once” (page 32):

“Picasso’s bull” (page 33):

“Pierre Bonnard’s late interiors” (page 34):

“Manhattan reef” (pages 35-40):

“Never is (Han van Meegeren, 1889-1947, art forger)” (page 41):


The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Material Matters

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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