John Brandi - Poet & Painter
John Brandi - Poet & Painter


"Brandi writes about the natural world with insight and respect. He offers more than a recitation of places he's been or a call to honor the environment: He connects the reader to the exterior and interior aspects of his active experience as witness to nature. He puts no distance between reader and subject matter, so you are not just reading about the crickets he heard chirping and the frogs that answered back—you are listening with him."
—Jennifer Levin

Santa Fe New Mexican

"Brandi's work exemplifies the impressionistic postcard travel-writing style established by Jack Kerouac. His work seeks source and renewal in new geographies and in the act of travel with its inevitable encounters and mysteries. He gets inside and outside things. Nothing passes him by. He's a seer, a person who looks, who retains an abiding curiosity and sympathy with special people and places. Lucky for us that John's a praiser, a psalmist if you will, affirming and preserving the facts of his life his art abounds in."
—David Meltzer

"John Brandi's poetry is marked by an incisive natural observation that transforms the objects of his description into a visionary glow. He demonstrates a concern with the transformed details of the natural world, especially as it merges or collides with the mind in its processes."
—John Tritica

Albuquerque Journal

"Brandi deals with the mysteries of male–female relationships, the loss of innocence, the confrontation with spirituality in the real world, and the complex euphoria of being alive."
—Charlotte Moser

Houston Chronicle

"John Brandi gives us the artist's heightened sensitivity and clarity of detail; poems of rare precision, charm and truth."
—Joanne Kyger

"Brandi writes honestly and wittily; his prose is swift and crisp. Like another poet, Leonard Cohen, who wondered rhetorically if travel leads us to anywhere, Brandi seems to suggest that destination is not as important as the act of adventuring itself."
—Preston Houser

Kyoto Journal

"Brandi, it's true, has been an open roader for much of his life and like his two great forbearers, Whitman and Neruda, has named the minute particulars, the details of his soujournings ... infusing them with a whole gamut of feelings—compassionate, mischievous, loving and righteous. It's what's made his poetry one of the solid bodies of work that's emerged from the North American West since the 60's."
—Jack Hirschman

"John Brandi has given us the music of his inner world mixed with his clear–eyed observations of the outer world ... good poetry, as part of that canon of Southwest literature which includes the works of Oliver LaFarge, Simon Ortiz, William Eastlake, and Frank Waters."
—Ward Abbot

New Mexico Magazine

"I love John Brandi's 'pledge to clarity,' his politics in the sense of witness, his candor, his delight & heart towards children & friends, his terrific travel details and his aspiration toward egolessness."
—Anne Waldman

"Good strong simple poems, quietly eloquent, shapely as snowflakes."
—Edward Abbey

"John Brandi's sandy poem mandalas, crisscrossing back and forth on their own paths, begin to fill out landscapes in depth. Life in both space and time—"
—Gary Snyder

"There are lines here as wiry and sinuous and vivid as a desert campfire. Brandi's idea that landscape 'projected' the typography is fascinating."
—Michael McClure

"The topo-typo approach, a linear language as geography, was fostered by Snyder, Charles Olson, and, in direct line, Paul Metcalf. In his selected poems Brandi carries on the heritage of language as geography."
—Gerald Housman

The Bloomsbury Review

"John Brandi sustains an unbelievable amount of creative tension, almost as if the writer were changed into some sort of divine receptacle for receiving ten-thousand elusive impressions."
—Moritz Thompson

San Francisco Chronicle

"Brandi is a fine love poet, as powerful at times as either Kenneth Rexroth or James Wright. In this age of high-tech ... That Back Road In reminds us with a quiet eloquence what it means to be human beings."
—Lee Bartlett

Albuquerque Journal

"The way John Brandi interprets the desert world is rich with the guts and gusto of old-fashioned magicians. The man is absolutely shameless in his lust for being alive. His is a bittersweet, loving vision, as well as a hardass, heartfelt swansong to disappearing vestiges of a more truthful way of life."
—John Nichols

A Question of Journey is John Brandi's celebratory collection of vignettes compiled in Asia, a spirited potpourri of people and places lavishly enhanced by his visionary collages. This is a journey through distant lands as well through the continent of the heart, rich with non-stop impressions, reflections, and counter-reflections crowding the beholder's eye: surreal landscapes of India and Nepal; street theater in the deserts of Rajasthan; grim and touching episodes from barbaric urban ghettos; solitary journal jottings from Himalayan pilgrimages; conversations with waifs and prophets, mendicants and madmen, tillers of the soil and tillers of the soul-ending with the author's soliloquy in a monastic hideaway in Thailand, and a visit to Bali where shadows play and monkeys chant.

"Travel, step away from the familiar, touch, be touched" Brandi says. "Leave home, let the unpredictability of the road shake your beliefs, find a new way back. Along the way become someone else. Perhaps this new he or she is the you all the time before you were defined or began to define that person who stares back from the mirror." Anyone interested in the more esoteric aspects of travel—and the mind—will not forget this book.
—rear cover, A Question of Journey