Soutine by Rick Mullin

$18.00

“More than a meditation on art and ambition, Soutine celebrates both painting and poetry, while lamenting the limits on our lives. Mullin uses words with such color and plasticity, such concern for the joys and failures of the flesh, that his poem feels like a world remade– . . .”  – David Mason

Category: Other Books by:

Book Description

  • Kind: Perfect
  • Pages: 200
  • Language: English
  • Published: January 2012
  • Audio CD: No
  • ISBN: 978-1-933675-68-8

Praise

Rick Mullin’s Soutine is a multi-layered marvel of a book. Its two protagonists are the Jewish expressionist painter, Chaïm Soutine, and the author himself, also an artist, but one who has had to make more common compromises with the world. These partial biographies are turned for us in the liveliest terza rima you are likely to find in contemporary poetry, rhyme rich, playful and tragic almost in the same breath. More than a meditation on art and ambition, Soutine celebrates both painting and poetry, while lamenting the limits on our lives. Mullin uses words with such color and plasticity, such concern for the joys and failures of the flesh, that his poem feels like a world remade–or nearly so–against the most terrible odds. Read this book for its verbal panache, its knowledge of painterly technique, but most of all for its unvarnished engagement with life. – David Mason

An Excerpt

Book II
Chapter 2
The Hive

I

“Hold still a minute now. And stop your screaming.”
Foujita’s tweezers poke the fleshy molding
of a dirty ear. Modigliani’s seeming

nonchalance belies his effort, holding
the tormented Belarus against
a mattress in this battle scene unfolding—

Chaim screams, “I’ll go insane!” His friends,
exhausted, watch the Japanese maneuver
cautiously until the shrieking ends

with the extraction of a roach. “Whoever
says Soutine keeps to himself should try
to sleep next door,” Kremegne, a bit hung over,

groans on leaving. The fear in Chaim’s eye
subsides in increments as Modigliani
breaks his wrestler’s hold and lets him lie

across the elevated pallet, an uncanny
rig the two assemble every night
between the rusted vats of paraffin they

situate to block the bugs that bite
(and now we must say burrow) as Chaim is sleeping.
Foujita watches quietly, despite

the shock of having just removed a creeping
insect from this fellow’s ear: “Soutine,
I wonder if this monster is worth keeping.”

He drops it in an empty turpentine
container. “It looks a little like a lobster,
huh? Still Life in a Tin Tureen.”

Chaim does his best through broken sobs to
thank Foujita. Modigliani calms
his friend. “Foujita, you have stopped a

genius falling from the edge. Embalm
the bug we shall, Monsieur!” “You owe me, Modi.”
“Yes! Goodnight, Foujitasan!” “Shalom.”

About the Author

Rick MullinRick Mullin’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including American Arts Quarterly, The Raintown Review, Unsplendid, Méasŭre, The Flea, and Ep;phany. His chapbook, Aquinas Flinched, was published by the Modern Metrics imprint of Exot Books, New York City, in 2008, and his book-length poem, Huncke, was published by Seven Towers, Dublin, Ireland, in 2010. For more information on Soutine visit: soutinepoem.wordpress.com