Poets on Photography

Beautiful images and words constructed together on a page can be such a delight. This is a great little book which I am glad I found in the stacks the other day.

Poets on photography – A generously illustrated anthology of poems about photography edited & designed by Mark Melnicove.
The Dog Ear Press
Distributed by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.
TR186 P64 1981

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Mark Melnicove’s book from 1981 is a fascinating book, looking at the relationship between Poetry and Photography. This is really one of the few books that exist (to my knowledge) that truly examines the profound interplay between poetry and photography. It is filled with poems, word-collages, photographs and image-collages. These great poems about photography are constructed on the page with dynamic accompanying images and thoughtful experimental design. This is a perfect marriage in many ways. The poets represented in this volume include: Lewis Carroll, Charles Simic, Yoko Ono, Ted Kooser and Lawrence Ferlinghetti amongst others.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Poet & Co-founder of City Lights)

I am always surprised that there isn’t greater collaboration between photographers and poets as I feel that is a genuine affinity between these two mediums. As forms of expression poetry and photography share a common immediacy and a common intimacy. I have a deep love for both mediums.

I truly wish there was more collaborative projects in the poet/photo world – I know there is some – I just wish that more existed. I expect to see a lot more in the coming years. The great poet-photographer visual experiment is still in its infancy.

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About matthew carson

Associate librarian & Archivist at the International Center of Photography
This entry was posted in artists' books, International, Unpacking the collection and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Poets on Photography

  1. Mike Silverwise says:

    I believe that the two above mentioned mediums can be quite potent when merged… much like listening to music while watching TV with the volume muted (although the true “gems” may occur randomly).
    When I read or hear a pertinent poem, images tend to boil-up from the shadows.

  2. frankrodick says:

    Thanks for writing this. There’s not enough written about the relationship between poetry and photographic art, and the creative process behind both.

  3. wildstorm says:

    Excellent article. I currently am working on a poetry/photography collaboration with an emerging writer Dr. AV Koshy. Expected to be completed summer 2014. Shalom.

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