Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees: Poetry

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9780985471514: Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees: Poetry
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Readers are transported to the impressionist era that began with Edouard Manet in this colorful collection of ekphrastic poetry, Art is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees. In this collective, the author has presented storytelling poems revealing the time and place of the artists, their inspiration, and how these paintings not only brought about a new movement in art, but how these paintings affected the world around them.

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About the Author:

In 1966, Martin Willitts Jr went to the Chicago Institute Of Art on an invitation for interviewing to enter the college program. He carried his large canvases (he had stretched his own canvases) in a portfolio, taking a train from Syracuse, New York, to Chicago, took the El to the college, and sat in a waiting room with other students. Out of curiosity, the students began showing each other s paintings. Martin became so intimidated, he left without showing his work to the professors. He took the train back home, and ended up working with the American Friends Service Committee in Vietnam. He was like a medic, doing triage and First Aid during, bringing back the wounded, assisting in the operations, and handling the body bags. He never saw the letter from the college until almost four years later, offering him a full scholarship to become an art student. The letter said that he really did not need to show his portfolio. The professors had seen his paintings in New York State high school art shows. What they had liked was that his paintings were different. They were like Surrealism (Martin had to look up the art style), and he was using Air Brush to paint. But it was too late. Just like Renoir, he could not hold a paint brush anymore. Martin s hands could not stop shaking from a mild form of epilepsy. Flash forward to 2005. Martin took up paper cutting and origami as methods to control his hands. He can still identify works of art and dates, by sight. He can tell you the story behind the paintings and something about the artists. He is a Librarian, after all. One time Martin was in a museum and he became so excited, he began talking about the paintings and artists. The next thing he knew, he had a crowd convinced he was a museum guide. Martin Willitts Jr never intended to become a poet. He wanted to become a Playwright. He took a Creative Writing course in 1982 to get feedback about his plays, but the instructor insisted that they would only read poetry. From 1972-1984, Martin published hundreds of poems, and three chapbooks. Then he stopped. He did not write again until 2001. He was invited to participate in an online magazine special feature about 9/11. The editor said, Are you the Martin Willitts Jr. Are you sure you are not dead? He is back now; apparently from the dead.

Review:

Ekphrasis poetry is tricky: it should never rely too heavily on the artwork to carry the concept, but it should also not wander so far away from the original inspiration that the reader cannot connect the two. Mr. Willitts' new collection, Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees, manages just the right balance between the visual and the textual his poems evoke the emotional color of the impressionist works upon which they are based, yet they never lose their sense of place as literary art. The poems nudge the reader toward an emotional understanding of impressionism with subtle imagery and the skilled use of poetic devices (the personification in "Frieze-Like Composition is lovely). Mr. Willitts' ability to draw the reader into his characters' lives is particularly well done, adding an extra layer to the lush paintings which inspired the poems. For someone who loves both poetry and art, this is a collection not to be missed! ~Christine Klocek-Lim - Winner of the 2009 Ellen La Forge Memorial Prize in poetry. --Christine Klocek-Lim

This is a smart book combining the muse and inspiration, light and color, lust and art, sex and color. Like the paintings described the poems are impressionistic, both lyrical and factual, the poems suggest rather than state, they allude, they use figurative language to paint what isn t spoken. He says, 'I would hold emptiness like a woman s waist.' Read these poems with a book of Impressionist paintings to get the full impact of this rare blending. ~Helen Ruggieri, author of Butterflies under a Japanese Moon (Kitsune Books) and Glimmer Girls (Mayapple Press) --Helen Ruggieri, author of Butterflies under a Japanese Moon

Readers are transported to the impressionist era that began with Edouard Manet in this colorful collection of ekphrastic poetry, Art is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees. In this collective, the author has presented story-telling poems revealing the time and place of the artists, their inspiration, and how these paintings not only brought about a new movement in art, but how these paintings affected the world around them. With vivid imagery, Author Martin Willitts Jr. has painted an entire era with his words. The introductory poem inspired by the painting depicted on the beautiful cover , is as ambitious as it is intriguing, using the varied viewpoints of four characters to tell the tale behind this masterful work of art. Beginning with Manet s Version, the author reveals the importance of soft light, the intimacy and passion Manet had for his art. In the section Monet s Response, the author compares the connection between art, eroticism and desire. The seductive nature of the imagery captures much about Monet and what provoked his brush into the paint and onto the canvas. let us remove its blushes, rub the flesh of morning until it moans In Renoir s Response, Willitts speaks from yet another angle of light. Renoir s response is that of soft light and rose petals and the beauty revealed in the simplicity of woman s smile. The closing section is probably the most ambitious of the four perspectives as the author speaks through a woman s voice and poise. In Camille s Response, she is the subject; the poem her thoughts as the painting comes into focus. What is truly stunning about these vignettes is how the author has used similar imagery to blend the tones of perspective into one poem. Readers will feel they are stepping onto a boat on the Seine with a clear view of Monet in his floating studio. This captivating collective is far more than simply poems inspired by paintings. Willitts has presented a history lesson of the impressionist era. Within the pages of poetry presented here are quotes and excerpts intended to capture time and place; a time machine taking readers on a voyage of light and hue captained by the masters of the Impressionist period. A time where art is changing, and many of these timeless talents were questioned by the Salon. One of the finest examples of this is The Pont des Arts by Renoir, 1867 where Renoir takes a bold approach to art and a defiant protest to what is, and is not to be considered art. Indeed Art is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees and perhaps what they choose not to see. Another example of this changing view of art is presented in Clarity in a Fog where Monet was not unfamiliar with the close-minded nature of the bourgeois. This true story of how The Gare St-Lazare by Claude Monet, 1877 was painted proves the dedication and rebellious determination the early impressionists had in order to earn acknowledgement of their medium and stylistic approach. While many of the poems contain subtle eroticism and touch on the muse behind the painting, two poems cut the deepest into the passion of love and inspiration. In Water Lilies by Claude Monet the poem expresses Monet s love for his wife Alice who died in 1904. Cure is a heartbreaking and touching tribute. The painting the poem is based upon, Nude in the Sunlight, Renoir, 1876 is believed to be about Renoir s model Anna, who died at a very young age. Martin Willitts Jr. takes this poetical painting full circle with the tales of these masterpieces, the carefully placed quotations and the beautifully lush words in the compilation. Art is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees, is certain to inspire readers to celebrate art with a whole new appreciation. --The Examiner - Apryl Skies

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