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Black Lines on Terracotta by Terry Van Vliet

Price: $16.00

Black Lines on Terracotta Terry Van Vliet BlazeVOX [books]


In a voice daring and decorous, Terry Van Vliet celebrates Apollonian beauty and erotic desire.  He uses poets and painters who have long fascinated him as guides for exploring these states.  Other poems are more autobiographical.  Family, friends, and the vivid characters that abound in Los Angeles, London, or Paris become his subjects.

His lines---sinewy, chiseled, respectful of human breath---are meant to be heard, even sung; and, without the bedrails of punctuation, words jostle and provoke each other, mischievously shifting meanings and adding pleasure.  Joy accumulates.  Indeed, it becomes the overwhelming gift of the poems that underlie Van Vliet’s recurrent subjects:  the terrible power of beauty and those who are shaped by it.  This collection reawakens the wonder of the numinous world and our own humanness.

Katharine A. Daly, Emerita

State University of New York at Buffalo


Terry Van Vliet merges the personal and the mythic with seamless grace.  Conjuring Orphic lyricism, he weaves the visionary into present-day emotional truth.  Van Vliet creates an intensely wide-ranging world.  Here are Matisse, Cocteau, J. S. Bach, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins and, yes, Captain Beefheart.   We come to know the memorable figures of the poet’s intimate experience as well, most vividly his loving partner of many years, Jan Keller, to whom the book is dedicated.

Read Black Lines on Terracotta to enter writing of unblinking honesty, enthralling language and extraordinary insight.  This collection is a deeply valuable contribution to contemporary poetry.

Holly Prado



Terry Van Vliet was born in Glendale, California and grew up in Los Angeles near the homes of his grandparents, his aunt and uncle, and his cousin, Don Van Vliet, professionally known as Captain Beefheart, musician and painter.

He has written poetry since he was in high school.  The poet Karl Shapiro praised his work early on and encouraged him to continue to write. After two years at the University of California at Santa Barbara, he moved to New York where he studied acting with Stella Adler, Uta Hagen, and Tamara Dayharkanova and worked as an actor in film and television.  He completed his degree in English Literature at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles.  He taught English at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles and served as chair of the English Department for thirty years.

His work has appeared in Gay Sunshine and other publications.

He lives with his partner Jan Keller in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles.


Book Information: 

· Paperback: 100 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-059-0

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Black Lines on Terracotta by Terry Van Vliet