“Le Louvre three self portraits,” “Musee de Quai Branly transubstantiation,” and “Musee d’Orsay Van Gogh self portrait” by Frank Rossini appeared in our Fall – Winter ’16 issue and are available to read here.
Tell us a little about these poems.
These poems came about after a trip to Paris a year or so ago. When I travel, I usually keep a daily journal of people, places, interactions that strike me as notable. I also take a lot of photographs (photography has been a long term interest of mine). When I go to museums, I inevitably wind up taking photos of people looking at art. The Louvre poem stems from photos/memories of people taking selfies with specific pieces of art. The Quai Brunly poem comes from some interactions I noted of young school children & teachers with powerful cultural & spiritual artifacts from diverse cultures. Many of the artifacts were ceremonial pieces used to move between realities. The d’Orsay poem stems from my own observations & reactions to the gallery & that specific Van Gogh self portrait, which he painted close to the time of his death. I think of the three poems as parts of one long poem.
What was the most difficult part of this particular pieces?
In all of these, I tried to impart an “objectivist” quality to the poems. When I first started writing poems about fifty years ago, I was drawn to poets like Reznikoff, William Carlos Williams, Basho, Ikkyu, Tu Fu, Wang Wei who were so object oriented. So my task in these poems was to let the objects (paintings, people, interactions) exist as much as possible on their own.
Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.
Wow. There are so many. Joy Harjo’s Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings is one I’ve come back to several times. I’m drawn to its musicality, its honesty, & the breadth of its content. If you have heard her music, you can hear how it suffuses the book.
If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?
That might depend on what we were drinking, but because I just turned 70, I’d like to sit down with W.S. Merwin, whose latest work looks age & mortality right in the eye. The poems pare life down to the essential.
What are you working on now? What’s next?
I’m just finishing a book of poems that tells my story of growing up an Italian/Irish Catholic kid in mid-century(20th) New York City who moved to Oregon & has resided there since the early 70’s. I’m also working on a chapbook of poems stemming from my interests in painting, photography, & jazz. Next is wherever my eye & breath take me.
Our thanks to Frank for taking the time to answer a few questions and share his work. Read Frank’s three poems, “Le Louvre three self portraits,” “Musee de Quai Branly transubstantiation,” and “Musee d’Orsay Van Gogh self portrait” here:
Frank Rossini grew up in New York City & now resides in Eugene, Oregon. He has published poems in various journals including the Seattle Review, Raven Chronicles, Paterson Literary Review, and Chiron Review. Silverfish Review Press published a chapbook of his poems, Sparking the Rain. In 2012, sight|for|sight books published a book of his poetry, Midnight the Blues.