Art & literatures emerging from everywhere in this planet

Interview of Djelloul Marbrook by Seb Doubinsky in The Tabago Page

in Interviews by

Djelloul Marbrook is an American writer, essayist and poet. His works include Far from Algiers, Saraceno, Brash Ice and Shadow of the Heron.

What is your earliest reading memory?

Tabloid headlines, probably 103 pt. hot lead headlines. I lived with Grandma Huldah and my Aunt Dorothy in Brooklyn and they used to cut out tabloid headlines as we sat on the floor in order to teach me the alphabet and how to string letters together. They made paste out of flour and water and we pasted words and then short sentences on sheets of paper. I remember how happy I was. It’s no wonder I eventually made a living writing headlines.

Has writing been a conscious choice or a natural thing for you?

I used to sit next to my stepfather in his office on 19th Street in Manhattan and do my homework when I was in high school. He loved Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The translation is great fun, quite musical, and utterly misleading. I liked it, but I had grown up in a Protestant boarding school run along English public school lines—it had been set up for East Anglian evacuees during World War II, and I was one of the very few Americans—so I took it on myself to respond to Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat from a Christian perspective, using his own prosodic schemata. I was hooked on prosody and began to study it intensely.

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Lust, Invasion and Other Poems, by Stuart Bartow

in Poetry by

LUST

Love or lust, she declared from the back
of the classroom, What difference does it make?
And, after all, isn’t it only words, parsing.
But that back road I often travel, that
fist of sparrows between the fields, their

sister or mate gliding too low, car-clipped,
stranded in the road’s middle, still singing
to her flock as they fretted around her,
scattering back to the bushes between
passing pickup trucks, then returning,
trying to levitate their love through song
that their urging might make miracle,
and I thought, maybe, that’s the difference.

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What the camera tells the writer about genius and grief

in Art & Photography by

Dedicated collaboration with a camera is worth an MFA degree to a writer. And editing in the era of the digital image is like recruiting unused brain cells.

The camera teaches us how to see things. It teaches us to look for what we routinely overlook. It teaches us nuance, shadow, light, and how to make collages with them.

What distinguishes a good photographer is not the cost of the equipment hanging around the neck. It’s an eye for composition, a sense of how things juxtapose to say something beyond the reach of each thing being composed.

Anyone can learn how to take a good picture of an object. But contextualizing that object in reference to its environ, that’s different. Writing a good sentence is not the same as being a good writer.

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Mountains, poems by Sébastien Doubinsky

in Poetry by

The barbarians bang on their shields
while the Greek poet sips his ouzo
and gives the kids a few olives
“ah money,” he thinks, “money”
then he looks at the sea
and doesn’t think anymore

night falls
poet rises
temporary balance

the moon fell on the mountain top
and rolled down to the bottom
like a small sliver coin
the poet pocketed it
while nobody was watching

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