“They are a form of language on landscape, a form of inscape, that, intimate and moving, are also arresting and revelatory.”— Arthur Sze
A Luminous Uplift is a rich compendium of John Brandi’s new and selected prose spanning four decades of investigative travels through the American Southwest to the far reaches of the Himalaya.
John Brandi’s selection of writings over the last four decades opens with his awakening to landscape and poetry during his upbringing in California, his counterculture years in the Sixties, and his Peace Corps work with indigenous farmers in the Andes. Essays on his multiple visits to India, Sikkim and Nepal, with vivid descriptions of Khajuraho’s erotic temples, the ritual dances of Kerala, the monasteries of the Himalaya, move from the physical landscape to the literary, with his discovery of Ghalib’s poetry and his reflections on Baudelaire while lost in the crowds of Mumbai. Brandi roves in these pages from the sky villages of Hopi, the Deer Dance of Taos, walkabouts with Japanese poet Nanao Sakaki, to his practice of haiku in the New Mexico mesa lands he has made his home.
“A Luminous Uplift is a rich compendium of John Brandi’s new and selected prose that revisits rambles in three continents. An intrepid sojourner, he’s equally at home sleeping under the stars or in a hermit’s stone hut reading passages of travel accounts by Matsuo Basho or Nicholas Roerich. Whether on a rocky foot path crossing a Himalayan icefall or when homesteading, chopping wood, gardening in the American Southwest and engaging with ancient Pueblo culture, Brandi’s seasoned haiku poet’s eye inspires and celebrates spirit, the power of place and the wonders he beholds venturing off the beaten path. His pen flows with lyrical exuberance!”—Marilyn Stablein, author of Sleeping in Caves
“John Brandi opens this dazzling collection with a description of road trips he took through the landscapes of Southern California with his parents, who taught him how to see. In subsequent chapters, the boy becomes a bard, and we trek with him up mountain trails, drop into roiling cities, meet eccentric visionaries and return home to the wilds of New Mexico. Brandi leans into each experience of place with the open senses and curious mind of a sommelier, tasting deeply, distilling the essence. His peripatetic embrace of the world is passionate and contagious. 'My feet are burning, so is my heart,' he writes. 'A pleasant madness flames out of my head and lifts my hat as I tramp this uninhabited backcountry.'”—Anne Valley-Fox, author of The Household Muse (with Tom Ireland)
“Eyes and mind wide open to unanticipated concurrencies of place and time, it’s no coincidence that Brandi, a long-practicing artist and poet, is drawn to shamanic shapechangers; his favorite landscapes are transformative vistas where ongoing dramas of the natural world play out in moments and eons. A Luminous Uplift, the latest of his distinguished publications, charts numinous inner realms to illuminate a profoundly engaged spirit of place—both around the world and at home in New Mexico.”—Ken Rodgers, Kyoto Journal