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Jan 31, 2016
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
A reading by poet and painter John Brandi
New Mexico History Museum

Celebrated poet and painter John Brandi reads from Into the Dream Maze, his newest book, a limited-edition publication of the Press at the Palace of the Governors. Brandi also illustrated the entries and hand-colored each of the 35 editions. The event is free with admission; Sundays are free to NM residents.

In a preface to Into the Dream Maze, novelist John Nichols writes, “Here is an autobiography in fifteen prose poems and sweet haikus and whimsical joyous pictures. They reveal a man in harmony with the natural environment, a soul at peace with itself and with the vast energy surrounding it. The effect is wonderful. We should all love the world this much.”

A master of haiku, John Brandi notes that the collection “was written in the haibun form, a combination of descriptive prose punctuated by haiku. Matsuo Basho (1644–94) was the great master of haibun, as well as of the poetic pilgrimage. His most famous work, written toward the end of his life, was Oku no Hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Interior), the result of walking nearly 1,500 miles through Japan as a literary-spiritual discipline.”

Into the Dream Maze is homage to the wandering poets of Japan that John Brandi has followed for years, and also a love-letter to New Mexico’s land, sky, prayed-for water, ancient people and next-door neighbors.

Brandi, a Southern California native, was encouraged by his parents toward the art of traveling, witnessing, writing and painting. After graduating from Cal State Northridge, he joined the Peace Corps and worked with Andean farmers. Returning home, he made contact with Beat Generation poet Gary Snyder. In 1971, he moved to New Mexico and, in his early years here, traveled with Japanese poet Nanao Sakaki, and compiled That Back Road In, the first of his many poetry collections. In 1979, he received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry.

Modern American haiku is said to have been given new life by Jack Kerouac, author of the Beat classic, On the Road. Brandi was a consultant for the museum’s 2007 Kerouac exhibit, Jack Kerouac and the Writer’s Life. As a poet, Brandi owes much to the West Coast Beat tradition, but he also refers to poets as diverse as Federico Garcia Lorca, Pablo Neruda, and Matsuo Basho as influences. As a painter, he says, his practice as poet-painter-traveler harkens back to the 8th-century Chinese master Wang Wei. 


For more information, contact the New Mexico History Museum at 505 476-5200

Related Photos

Into the Dream Maze

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