Winter in June is a collection of flash fiction and prose poems from multimedia artist Lorette C. Luzajic, editor of The Ekphrastic Review (TER), a literary journal focusing on that rich facet of creativity – art inspired by other art. For fans of ekphrastic writing, I consider TER essential reading and Luzajic its Maestra. The last book of Luzajic’s I read was her book of ekphrastic prose poems, Pretty Time Machine, a remarkable assemblage that flowed like a whitewater ride I didn’t want to end.
Winter in June does it again, with Luzajic pulling the reader into her stimulating interpretation and rendering of the world, appreciation and inspiration through an eclectic array of visual art, from classical to pop-culture, surreal to sublime, each layer enriching what precedes and follows.
This is the opening piece, The Last Time I Showed Up at Midnight, in its entirety:
“The last time I showed up at midnight, you had blown out all the candles and the only sound in the smoke was the laboured humming and tumble of the ice machine. The whisky was open but pushed aside. I tipped some into an espresso cup and took my medicine. The humidity had an aura of its own, pressing the small of my back and my neck like an intense and patient lover. I fumbled for ice but only thin shells fell to my hands. There was a low pulse of jazz, so faint I knew it was the ghost of last night’s music gone. The stars were almost wiped invisible by the saltwater in the air, but I could still see a few blinking faintly and far. I thought about leaving a note before I disappeared forever, but I knew you’d know I’d been there.”
I found myself setting this book down after each passage, allowing myself a contented sigh of satisfaction, like enjoying an exquisite meal. Winter in June is a book to be savoured. Each reading, like the art that inspired each story and poem, deepens in sensory engagement. We know so much about these characters, this setting, these emotions, through a seemingly sparse, judicious handful of words. This is great writing, shared with precision and confidence.
This passage is from the title piece, Winter in June:
“In June, the deep of winter, the moon is eternal and the sun does not rise. You imagine night horses with ice in their manes, galloping across snow-capped mountains. Where would you be if you weren’t here? Maybe there, a little farther north, where Malbec flows from the limestone and men like this one dance the tango.”
It’s as though we’ve joined the author mid-dream, a delicious visual, melding dark, light, historic poignancy and perhaps a whiff of autobiography. To fully embrace the mixed-media experience, we can follow along with Luzajic’s inspiration for each piece, as she shares a link to the work of her visual muses, an approach I love which brings to the page the very best of reading, writing, and a sense of strolling through the world’s most inviting gallery.
Congratulations are in order for Lorette C. Luzajic – author, editor, painter, and champion of other artists. Winter in June is intense and engaging, a superb collection of stories and prose poems that seamlessly meld, creating another all-encompassing journey I find has concluded too soon.
- Title: Winter in June
- Author: Lorette C. Luzajic
- Publisher: Mixed Up Media Editions, 2021
- ISBN: 9798507886036
- Pages: 187 pp
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Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of the Gone Viking travel memoirs (Gone Viking: A Travel Saga, Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries, Gone Viking III: The Holy Grail) and A Season on Vancouver Island. He’s won numerous book awards and received a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society for his expeditions. When not trekking with a small pack and journal, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, where he lives near the sea on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land.