Fiction. For noted poet John Olson, the French painter Georges Braque embodies "the seeing machine"—one of many artists who challenged the accepted views of perception and expression during the early twentieth century. Imaging Braque's life from the First World War until his death, Olson's lyric and charged prose delves into Braque's mind after he endures a serious head wound in WWI, and then struggles to resume his art—to resume his alternate way of seeing. In THE SEEING MACHINE, Olson lets the reader experience what he imagines Braque saw. Braque's Cubistic ideas of multiple perspective, disjunction and collage leap from the page. The story is not so much Braque's life but rather with Olson's exploration of Braque's deep fascination with the dynamism of sight and the stories inherent in color. Braque was a more solitary and private man (than, say, Picasso), and through his fascination with all sorts of expression, developed close relationships with such prominent French writers as Francis Ponge, Pierre Reverdy and Max Jacob. War figures throughout the novel as a deterrent to artistic and spiritual consciousness, and the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s are pertinent to understanding the fascistic tendencies of our own era.
John Olson is the author of eight books of poetry and prose poetry, including Larynx Galaxy; Backscatter: New and Selected Work; THE NIGHT I DROPPED SHAKESPEARE ON THE CAT; OXBOW KAZOO; FREE STREAM VELOCITY; ECHO REGIME; Eggs & Mirrors; Logo Lagoon; and Swarm of Edges. He has also published three other novels: SOULS OF WIND (Quale Press), which was shortlisted for a Believer Book of the Year Award in 2008; The The Nothing That Is; and THE SEEING MACHINE (Quale Press). Some of his articles and essays have appeared in The Stranger and Seattle Weekly.Author City: SEATTLE, WA USA