Review of “Mirage” on Resolve40

Check out this review of Nicole Peyrafitte & Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s film Basil King: Mirage.


Basil King: Mirage

by patrick brennan


Basil King & Miles Joiris-Peyrafitte

photo courtesy of the filmmakers


Among context invoking in-betweens such as essays, interviews, reviews and descriptions, it’s not that often that an artist can be so influentially positioned to shape these as in Nicole Peyrafitte’s and Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s deft 23 minute short film, Basil King: Mirage, which ably affords this occasion to painter and poet Basil King.

Born in London in 1935, his family, after living through the blitz and more, settled in Detroit in 1947. Struck already by Pollock and Rimbaud, he was walking past the Detroit Art Institute’s Rivera murals for studio classes and, by 16, had arrived at Black Mountain College to learn from Charles Olson and Franz Kline, segueing afterwards to San Francisco and its poets, New York City, Gottlieb, Motherwell, Rothko, Miles Davis, Amiri Baraka and Frank O’Hara during key moments of high artistic intensity in the United States. While all of that was happening, Basil King was there.

King’s poetic presence is every bit as penetrating as his painting; and the film stretches across excerpts from his long poem, Mirage — all at once autobiography, saga, song and affirmation, read in his Brooklyn studio in the painter’s own richly centered vocal tones, informing and revealing in ways that conventional interview and critical assessment can only infrequently hint at.

ctd here.

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Pierre Joris

Pierre Joris is a poet, translator, essayist & anthologist who has published more than 50 books, most recently, Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj (poems) from Chax Press and The University of California Book of North African Literature (volume 4 in the Poems for the Millennium series), coedited with Habib Tengour. Exile is My Trade: A Habib Tengour Reader edited & translated by Joris, and Pierre Joris: Cartographies of the In-between, essays on Joris’ work edited by Peter Cockelbergh, came out in 2012. Forthcoming are Barzakh — Poems 2000-2012 (Black Widow Press) & Breathturn Into Timestead:The Collected Later Poems of Paul Celan (FSG).

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