Lizzie's Reviews > Pretty Time Machine

Pretty Time Machine by Lorette C. Luzajic
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it was amazing
bookshelves: art, poetry

Pretty Time Machine

Lorette Luzajic

A review by Lizzie Ballagher, poet, UK

In Pretty Time Machine we meet a polymath versed equally in the languages of art and poetry. In this collection of ekphrastic poetry, Luzajic’s vocabulary in both media is quite dazzling. Her vision is uncompromising, sharply focused, unflinching. Sometimes those qualities make for less than comfortable reading, as for example when she squares up to the demons of child murder, pornography, addiction, broken friendship, death…often in imagery as stark and lurid as that employed by the visual artists whose work she celebrates.

And yet…and yet…the reader is as transfixed, as beguiled as someone standing before a canvas by Picasso or Monet, a sculpture by Rodin. With the poet, we come to the margins of human existence and grasp at a share of what life on the edges brings to our eyes, ears, skin, nose, palate. Glimpsing life’s extremities, we also come to appreciate afresh life’s potential for tenderness, gentleness, compassion, ‘ordinary’ humanity:

‘The dead sleep on, shrouded by sand and silences, fences.’

Under her skilled hand, moments of darkness are illuminated by shafts of light, hope, festivity, joy. The writing rings with the poet’s quirky observations: ‘chubby china cherubs…a cacophony of teacups’, also with a silver thread of spiritual sensitivity that weaves in and out of the often keen sense of grief and loss:

‘You covered me in flowers. Buried me before my time. Brought me Billie Holiday records, Bessie, Ella, Esther, tipped my face to the sun. I can't stop trying to find you, can't stop writing these poems.’

‘I couldn’t find my way back to belief in time for the Eucharist
in the garden that followed, but I wanted to take part in it anyway, to consume that bread of life and drown out all the death inside of me.

‘I couldn’t shake the words nailed above the entrance when I
emerged back into daylight from the empty earth:
He is not here, He is risen.’

Although her vision is equally for wide canvases and for the minutiae of physical and emotional landscapes, Lorette’s poetry is at its best when it is starkly economical:

‘You said you would follow me anywhere, but you have not followed
me here, where the stovepipe is cold and the table is pushed flush against
the only exit. How could you, when the cliffs rose dark and brooding over the choppy waves? One of us turned from the siren of oblivion, and one of us jumped.’

—or when its is infused with humour as bitter, dark, and delicious as chocolate made mainly of cocoa solids:

‘Everybody writes about Icarus, an irresistible archetype for
poets. Cafes have clattered for centuries in jazz and absinthe
or venti lattes, with voices earnestly exchanging angst…How we
all went on and on about our blasted sainted dead.’

Thank you, Lorette, for giving me, a subscriber and occasional contributor to Ekphrastic Review for two years, now, the privilege of reading and reviewing this mature, visionary work.
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Reading Progress

February 14, 2020 – Started Reading
March 12, 2020 – Finished Reading
March 14, 2020 – Shelved
March 14, 2020 – Shelved as: art
March 14, 2020 – Shelved as: poetry

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