Mechanics of a Gaze

Branka Petrovic

ISBN 978-1-77126-152-4
$17.00 CDN/USA
110 pages

Branka Petrovic’s sophisticated debut collection delves into the life and work of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, exploring his muses, the male gaze, and the eroticized female body. The poems take as their starting point various objects from Klimt’s estate (photographs, paintings, sketches) and the 400 or so postcards he wrote to his friend and confidant, Emilie Flöge. The book fashions an original narrative while imagining the day-to-day life of one of the most important painters of the 20th century. The collection stunningly captures the Vienna Secession as it celebrates a critical period in art history.


Branka Petrovic gets Klimt—she gets inside the gorgeous horror, the lavish violence of his paintings. That she embodies his work and his era in a poetry as ornate, as startling, as boldly sexual, as his art, impresses. That she does so through interrogation, even judgement—particularly of the male gaze—makes this a remarkable, and remarkably mature, first book. Provocative, elegant, and unsettling, Mechanics of a Gaze will leave no reader untouched.

Stephanie Bolster, author of A Page from the Wonders of Life on Earth.

Rich in imagery and sound, Branka Petrovic’s Mechanics of a Gaze is a lush, layered, and carefully-curated collection of poems about Gustav Klimt. Animating found material and showing careful attention to the material culture of the Secessionist period in Vienna, Petrovic has written a collection steeped in history and aesthetics, one sharpened by a contemporary, deliciously-ambivalent gaze. Intertwining threads of art, sex, fashion, scandal, and looted works, Branka Petrovic’s Mechanics of a Gaze “blooms / bravura.”

Susan Elmslie—author of Museum of Kindness

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply