Kerfe's Reviews > Pretty Time Machine

Pretty Time Machine by Lorette C. Luzajic
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it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry, visual-arts

"Assorted little things. Precious objects. I have them too. Everyone does." (from "The Curiosity Cabinet", inspired by Joseph Cornell

As with all books of poetry, I read Luzajic's collection slowly, considering only a few of the ekphrastic prose-poems at a time. In addition, I looked up and digested the artwork and artists that inspired them.

This was a two-sided treat--both the words and images worked as all art does, to take us deeper into ourselves and make connections between us and the rest of the world. I was introduced to new art and artists as I considered how my reactions compared to the author's, sometimes similar, sometimes revealing something I hadn't seen at all.

Luzajic is editor of The Ekphrastic Review, an online journal that publishes a wide variety of art and the words it inspires. It holds a bi-weekly challenge featuring a work of art and publishing a number of the responses two weeks later. I often enter and have had poems chosen to be published in the responses a number of times. I recognized many of the artworks used for inspiration in the book from their appearance in the challenges, which gave an additional dimension to Luzajic's words as I remembered both my own interpretation and those of the other published writers. I especially recalled seeing her response to Henry Darger on the site, and was drawn in again to its observations. Luzajic is excellent as a synthesizer of the questions an artist raises when the art and the life are played off each other. Where is the line between? Do they complement or contradict? Others in this category that resonated included Johnny Cash, Frida Kahlo, Basquiat, and Joseph Cornell.

Luzajic is herself an artist, and the book is as much about artists and the impulse to make art as it it about the mirror that the artist holds up to the world. There are moments of distilled time contained in both the images and words. What does it mean to be human, to create a life in relation to others? How does each life reflect back what it takes in?

Death is a dominant subject, and Luazjic in particular works to reconcile her feelings about the passing of her father, clearly an important sounding board and support during her ups and downs. She talks to him, through him, for him. He remains, present, larger than his mortal life.

But death is everywhere, inescapable, always mingling and merging with life. The urge to both competes in the people and places that haunt these meditations. In response to Rauschenberg's "Erased de Kooning Drawing", Luzajic observes "We'd moved to put death behind us, but the past is always with you." Can we ever really erase what was once drawn, what was there before? Those ghostly lines never actually disappear. The blood is still on our hands no matter how much washing we do.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March, 2020 – Finished Reading
March 5, 2020 – Shelved
March 5, 2020 – Shelved as: poetry
March 5, 2020 – Shelved as: visual-arts

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