April 22nd, 2010 09:37 EST
The Woodstock Library in the Hudson Valley is A Place of Discovery
Reading poems at The Woodstock Library in the Hudson Valley April 10 was a trip down memory lane. As I stood at the lectern, feeling surprisingly wobbly after a long bout with Swine Flu, I remembered the many times I had parked my battered old Columbia Flyer outside this famous building and gone inside to discover writers who would later influence me, among them Arthur Rimbaud, who in my boyhood was still controversial.
I was gratified that some of my new poems were well received, and I also read from Far From Algiers, my first book of poems. Will Nixon, the author of Love in the City of Grudges, read with me. Many of his poems were about his life in Hoboken, New Jersey, in the 1980s, when the city was transforming itself from an offshore ghetto to an upscale mirror of Manhattan. His poems were alternately funny and heart-rending. I will be writing more about them here soon [ http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com/2010/04/17/will-nixons-pocket-full-of-wry/].
I had read with Will before and, as before, fretted that his always engaging and humorous work would be a poor match for my more speculative and metaphysical work, but, as before, it turned out to be a good match, giving the audience a dramatic change of pace.
The Woodstock Library, as befits an arts colony, is extraordinarily well stocked and active in the community. When I was a boy I regarded it as a place of discovery because of its intimacy. I found the larger libraries somewhat intimidating and officious.
The town`s reputation as a music venue has somewhat obscured its earlier and sterling status as a plastic arts and literary engine of considerable power. But the advent of so many musicians in the late 1960s created an extraordinary alchemy between artists of various disciplines which continues today. Poets in particular feel comfortable in this kind of environment, which in many ways resembles the intimacy between poets and painters in France before and after World War I.
Djelloul (jeh-lool) Marbrook was born in 1934 in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American painter. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip and Manhattan, New York, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Navy.
His book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. His poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, poemeleon, The Same, and other journals. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.
He worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal and as an editor for The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of four small dailies in northeast Ohio and two medium-size dailies in northern New Jersey.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com