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Photography-Embedded Fiction & Poetry 2010

Here is a listing of the photography-embedded fiction and poetry that were published in 2010.  Please leave a comment to tell me about any book I’ve overlooked.   Updated January 18, February 5, 2011, December 25, 2012, April 20, 2013, March 25, October 16, 2014 July 22, 2015, December 11, 2016.

Alcalay IslandersAmmiel Alcalay. Islanders. SF: City Lights, 2010. A novel in which each of the six chapters opens with a different grayed-out photograph made by the author.

Morwyn Brebner.  Hey 45.  Atlanta: J&L Books.  Paper original.  A novella that contains fourteen photographs of girls basketball games credited to the Middletown Press (CT). Seven photographs precede the story, seven come after.

Anne Carson.  Nox.  NY: New Directions.  Boxed accordion-fold book.  Poems with many images.  I reviewed this book last May.

Doug Dorst.  The Surf Guru: Stories.  NY: Riverhead Books.  Contains the story “Splitters,” which includes 16 photographs, purported portraits  of “famous” botanists.

Pierre Guyotat.  Coma.  LA: Semiotext(e).  Contains nine variously credited photographs, as well as a few non-photographic images.

Christian Hawkey.  Ventrakl. Brooklyn: Ugly Duckling Presse.  Paper original.  Poems with photographs, mostly relating to Georg Trakl.  See my review here.

Envisioned in the form of a scrapbook, Ventrakl folds poetry, prose, biography, translation practices, and photographic imagery into an innovative collaboration with the 19th/early 20th century Austrian Expressionist poet Georg Trakl. Like Jack Spicer’s After Lorca, translation is the central mode of composition in this book, and it is also the book’s central theme, which Hawkey explores in a surprising array of different genres and modes of writing. What evolves is a candid and deeply felt portrait of two authors—one at the beginning of the 20th century, the other at the beginning of the 21st century, one living and one dead—wrestling with fundamental concerns: how we read texts and images, how we are influenced and authored by other writers, and how the practice of translation—including mistranslation—is a way to ornament and enrich the space between literature and life.

Aleksandar Hemon, editor.  Best European Fiction 2010.  Champaign: Dalkey Archive Press.  Contains two stories with embedded photographs: Three Hundred Cups by Cosmin Manolache and Revelation on the Boulevard of Crime by Julian Rios.

Kathleen Hill.  Who Occupies this House.  Evanston: TriQuarterly Books.  Recently reviewed in the New York Times.  Contains many illustrations – maps, documents, postcards, and numerous uncredited historic photographs.

Lindsay Hunter.  Daddy’s: 24 Fictions.  Chicago: Featherproof Books.  Contains numerous uncredited photographs.  I reviewed this book last month.

Howe That This

Susan Howe.  That This.  NY: New Directions.  Contains the lengthy poem “Frolic Architecture” with six photograms by James Welling.


Cornelius Medvei. Caroline: A Mystery. London: Harvill Secker, 2010. Contains a number of  deliberately indistinct photographs and images of documents, all by the author.

Lance Olsen.  Calendar of Regrets. Tuscaloosa: Fiction Collective Two. Twelve interconnected stories – one for each month of the year – all relating to travel.  Here’s an excerpt from The Brooklyn Rail (albeit without any of the photographs “created and manipulated by Andi and Lance Olsen”).

Tim Pears.  Landed: A Novel. London: William Heinemann.  Contains four photographs depicting the scene of an automobile accident, which are included as part of a “Collision Investigator’s Report.”  The fatal accident serves as the crux of the plot.


José Luís Peixoto. The Piano Cemetery. London: Bloomsbury, 2010. A novel loosely based on the story of Francisco Lázaro, a Portuguese runner who died partway through the marathon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Contains two uncredited photographs of a young girl and young boy. A translation from the 2006 Portuguese original Cementerio de pianos.

Floats Horse

Leslie Scalapino.  Floats Horse-floats or Horse-Flows.  Buffalo: Starcherone Books.  Contains two news photographs and two photo-based collages, one created by the author and the other created by Amy Evans McClure.

Wright One with Others

C.D. Wright. One With Others (a little book of her days). Port Townsend, WA: Copper canyon Press, 2010. A book-length poem about race and racism in the south and a 1969 “march against fear” in a small town in Arkansas. The book  concludes with a single photograph by Deborah Luster, who collaborated with Wright on several books (same image as the cover photograph).

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. brandon #

    Hello Terry – Not sure what year the English translation was published, but “Coma,” by Pierre Guyotat has several photographs embedded throughout the text. Just picked it up a couple days ago, looks very interesting!

    December 16, 2010
    • Brandon, Thanks! I’ve just ordered it and will add it to the list. The English edition seems to be 2010.

      December 16, 2010
  2. I just searched your site to see if you had mentioned the 2008 book The Summer Exercises by Ross Gibson (UWA Press, isbn 978 1 921401 20 6) which weaves a narrative around 175 black and white police investigative photographs from the collection of the Justice and Police Museum in Sydney, Australia. It’s a beautiful concatenation.

    December 16, 2010
    • Perdy – Thanks for the tip. I’ve just ordered a copy.

      December 16, 2010
  3. Oh, man, so many books to read… the only one I’ve read from this list is Nox, which was tremendous…

    December 20, 2010
  4. Traian Balanescu #

    Look in Best European Fiction 2010. You’ll find some images in the texts of Julian Rios and Cosmin Manolache.

    December 31, 2010
    • Thanks for the tip. I’ve ordered a copy.

      January 3, 2011
  5. The New York Times Sunday Book Review today notes Sebald in the review of a book on the mysteries of photography, called “Believing is Seeing” by Errol Morris. Might be worth checking it out.

    Joel Lipset

    September 4, 2011
  6. Ziba #

    I haven’t been able to look at Thalia Field’s Bird Lovers, Backyard, but was wondering if you knew whether it contains photos.

    May 1, 2017
    • I have not been able to see this book. I’m curious as well. If you ever find out, let me know. Thanks!

      May 4, 2017

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