Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters

A poet searches for hidden messages in her mother’s paintings.

A “LITERARY TROMPE L’OEIL
—Andrea Hollander, author of Blue Mistaken for Sky 

“…VISUALLY ACUTE, SONICALLY GORGEOUS, AND IMAGINATIVELY TRANSPORTING”
—Barbara Ungar, author of Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life and Immortal Medusa

“… CRISP, INVENTIVE… FULL OF SURPRISE”
—Barry Goldensohn, author of Snake in the Spine, Wolf in the Heart

Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters
Paperback • 107 pages •  6 x 0.3 x 9 inches  •  Brick Road Poetry Press  •  ISBN-13: 978-0-9979559-5-8  • $15.95

Through narrative and ekphrastic poems, a writer searches for hidden messages in her mother’s paintings. Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters combines lyricism with wry, off-beat humor to question reality and perception. The book title is drawn from a text by artist Jacques Maroger, who claimed to have rediscovered nearly magical paint mediums used by European Old Masters. “Open anywhere, and you won’t want to stop,” says poet Barbara Ungar.

Jackie Craven is also the author of Our Lives Became Unmanageable, winner of the Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Award. Her poetry and fiction appear in many literary journals.

Read Sample Poems   |   See the Paintings that Inspired the Poems

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Advance Praise…

“In a kind of literary trompe l’oeil, Jackie Craven’s marvelous first full-length collection is ultimately about the invisible—and only sometimes benign—subterfuge beneath what appears authentic. Sassy or respectful, elegiac or terse, her poems give us a world paradoxically ‘dark and bright, strange, [yet] familiar.’  Whether in the guise of investigating various particulars of creating art, or exploring the complicated emotional layers within human relationships, Craven reveals secrets, keeping me turning pages, wanting more of her fine work.”  Andrea Hollander, author of Blue Mistaken for Sky

“This book is a life, a collection of interwoven lives, revealed by imagination.   It is a meditation on childhood, age, artistic vision, family and death.  The language is crisp, inventive, and the poems brilliantly shaped, full of surprise and a sense of the finality of their form, which often seems like precise dramatic timing.  And with this mastery of the art, a sense of lives grasped and held close.  It is hard to believe that this is a first book, it is so wonderfully accomplished.”  Barry Goldensohn, author of Snake in the Spine, Wolf in the Heart

“Jackie Craven is a triple threat: her poems are visually acute, sonically gorgeous, and imaginatively transporting.  She herself is a Master.  Open anywhere, and you won’t want to stop.  BUY. THIS. BOOK.”  —Barbara Ungar, author of Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life and Immortal Medusa

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