Djelloul Marbrook

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Djelloul Marbrook (born 1934 in Algiers, Algeria) is a contemporary English language American poet and writer. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip, and Manhattan, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia University. He worked as a soda jerk, newspaper vendor, messenger, theater and nightclub concessionaire, and served in the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine before beginning his newspaper career.

Career[edit]

He was a reporter for The Providence Journal and an editor for the Elmira Star-Gazette,[1] Baltimore Sun, Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel,[2] The Washington Star, and Media News newspapers in northeast Ohio, and Paterson, New Jersey, and Passaic, New Jersey.

His poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in a number of journals.

Published Books

  • Far From Algers (2008, Kent State University Press, $15 [3] winner of the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and the 2010 International Book Award in poetry), explores the poet’s feelings of not belonging to family or country.
    ". . . as succinct as most stanzas by Dickinson . . . an unusually mature, confidently composed first poetry collection." —Susanna Roxman, Prairie Schooner
    " . . . brings together the energy of a young poet with the wisdom of long experience." —Edward Hirsch, Guggenheim Foundation
  • Brushstrokes and Glances (2010, Deerbrook Editions, Maine $16.95 [4]).
    ". . . one of those colossal poets able to bridge worlds—poetry and art, heart and mind—with rare wit, grace, and sincerity . . ." —Michael Meyerhofer, poetry editor, Atticus Review.
    " . . . the poems here about museums, galleries, and studios are as penetrating as the ones about the art . . . testify to years of careful seeing." —Maggie Anderson, author of Windfall: New and Selected Poems
  • Saraceno (2012, Bliss Plot Press, NY, 112 pages, $10 [5]) Few writers about the Mafia listened to the notorious Frank Costello, Vito Genovese, and Tony Gallo drinking marsala and chatting in a kitchen, but Marbrook did, and he celebrates it with a poet’s ear in this haunting tale of redemption.
    "Not just another run-of-the-mill Mafia novel." Small Press Bookwatch
    "Saraceno is an electric tone-poem straight from a world we only think we understand. An heir to George V. Higgins and David Mamet, Djelloul Marbrook writes dialogue that not only entertains with an intoxicating clickety-clack, but also packs a truth about low-life mob culture The Sopranos only hints at." —Dan Baum, author of Gun Guys (2013, Alfred A Knopf)
  • Guest Boy (2012, Mira Publishing House, UK, $11.99 or £4.00 [6]) —Bo Cavalieri, a laconic sailor, earned a Silver Star from the Navy as a frogman and now sails the world as a Merchant Marine officer. Many shipmates treasure his drawings of themselves that Bo gives them, drawings that recall Parmigianino’s. His adventures in Hamburg, Morocco, Italy, Oman, Somalia, Edinburgh, and New York echo The Odyssey and The Seven Voyages of Sindbad.
  • Brash Ice (2014, Leaky Boot Press,[7] 100 pages, $14.99) —Brash ice is broken ice that appears scarred after freezing again. The poet looks back on a dervish's trek through the world of illusions and tells us what beguiled, enlightened, froze, broke, and scarred him.
    “Marbrook's collection plays on this meaning of light and life throughout and especially in the concluding section." —Michael T. Young
  • Mean Bastards Making Nice (2014, Leaky Book Press, 166 pages, $14.99) —Two powerfully original novellas are set in the New York art world. In “The Pain of Wearing Our Faces” a Manhattan art teacher and her student, a famous composer, pledge to entertain each other as they try to stay sober. He confesses to plagiarizing his most famous work, then disappears. She follows him to Woodstock and finds the woman whose music he stole. In “Grace” a Catskills teenager runs away from an abusive father, hitchhikes to the city, and is briefly homeless before finding a job as an art mover and installer. Just as she begins to believe in her future she faces betrayal by her boss.
  • Shadow of the Heron (2016, Coda Crab Books, Seattle, 96 pages, $16.99 [8])—A man recounts his dervish journey, perceiving that his ultimate task is to disappear. What sort of creatures have friends? he asks as the collection opens. None who wear this kind of face, he answers.The contents pages are structured as a poem, suggesting thirst for oneness, and describe his voyage of discovery.

Books forthcoming 2017

  1. Riding Thermals to Winter Grounds (2017, Leaky Boot Press, 114 pages, $14.99)—One day the poet climbed Overlook Mountain in the Catskills. An eagle began riding a thermal column in great circles, wings outstretched and motionless. In one circle the eagle came close—poet and eagle stared into each other's eyes. The poet came to see the incident as a metaphor for old age—riding the thermals of experience. Most of these poems were written with that incident on the mountain in mind.
  2. A Warding Circle: New York stories (2017, Leaky Boot Press 182 pages, $15.99)—In the title novella, young artist Artemisia Cavelli is struck by lightning on Giant Ledge in the New York’s Catskill Mountains. Waking in a Kingston hospital, she sees a companion, a white wolf only she can see. All the conventions she had lived by now strike her as absurd as new intuitions lead her to correct the course of her life, fashioning a warding circle to protect a fragile group of friends. She is wrongly accused and betrayed by her mentor, a museum curator. When her mentor's life is shattered Artemisia draws her into the circle of protection.
  3. Making Room: Baltimore stories (2017, Leaky Boot Press, 171 pages, $15.99)—In the title story Paolo, a Manhattan artist who moves to Baltimore for studio space, creates a magical room for a young psychiatrist's adopted and traumatized infant nephew—a room with the heavens projected above and hideaways in the walls. To help him, Paolo recruits a metallurgist haunted by a disturbed upbringing. As the three collaborate, a rewarding friendship unfolds to enrich and complicate their lives.
  4. Nothing True Has a Name (2017, Leaky Boot Press, 108 pages)—These alchemical poems inquire deeply into the passion for containment symbolized by classical Greek vessels. They challenge our compulsion to categorize and pigeonhole. They seek to define the idea of ennobling elixirs. The image of galleys sailing on the winds and laden with Greek amphorae tied to each other by their necks haunts this collection. The poet concludes that names inevitably mislead us. He urges us to transcend them, not revel in them.
  5. Even Now the Embers (2017, Leaky Boot Press, 93 pages)—A hospital’s there now / where nightmares hid in closets / and stairwells echoed Vesti la giubba. So opens this collection of poems recalling a turbulent childhood. In these poems the poet rescues the child left behind but encounters grievances and must account for himself.
  6. Other Risks Include (2017, Leaky Boot Press, 93 pages)—Taking his title from the fine print of pharmaceutical advertisements, the poet addresses the risks we take, the risks we don’t take, and the consequences. The title of the poem clear cache escape program help reveals this unending struggle to confront or escape risk. How much of our lives can we say we have truly lived? the collection seems to ask. What are the risks of sleepwalking?
  7. Air Tea with Dolores Air Tea With Dolores (2017, Leaky Boot Press, 105 pages)—A poignant homage to the poet’s first love, an English girl sent to a British boarding school on Long Island to escape German bombing during World War II. The girl used to invite him into a gazebo where she served imaginary tea in painted tin cups. The experience and his memory of Dolores remained throughout his life an encounter with the fey. He never quite recovered from their separation at the end of the war.

Journals:

  • His poems have been published by American Poetry Review, Maintenant (2016, Three Rooms Press anthology), Barrow Street, Coal Hill Review, Omniverse, Knot Magazine, Galatea Resurrects, Pirene’s Fountain, Istanbul Review, Taos Poetry Journal, Orbis (UK), Aesthetica (UK), From the Fishouse, Oberon, Hot Metal Bridge, The Same, Reed, Fledgling Rag, Pine Hills Review, Le Zaporogue (Denmark), Poets Against the War, Poemeleon, Van Gogh's Ear Anthology (France), Atticus Review, Deep Water Literary Journal, (Ireland), Attic, Perpetuum Mobile, and Daylight Burglary, among others.
  • His fiction has been published by Literal Latté, Potomac Review, Orbis (UK), and Breakfast All Day (UK), among others.
  • An interview with him by Warda Atroun appeared in The Peregrine Muse [9]
  • A profile by Nina Shengold appeared in Chronogram [10]

His unpublished work includes several poetry manuscripts, as well as books two and three of the Guest Boy trilogy: Crowds of One and The Gold Factory

He is the editor of the English-language version of the trilingual journal Arabesques Review.

Prizes and awards[edit]

  • Far from Algiers (2008, Kent State University Press) won the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and the 2010 International Book Award in poetry.
  • “Artists Hill”,[11] an excerpt from Crowds of One, Book 2 in the Guest Boy trilogy, won the 2008 Literal Latté fiction prize.

References[edit]

External links[edit]