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Photography-Embedded Fiction & Poetry 2011

Here is my annual listing of works of fiction and poetry published during the previous year which contain embedded photographs as part of the textual matter. You can see all of my previous lists here.   If you know of a book that I have overlooked, please let me know in a comment. [Updated February 7, 2012, December 25, 2012, April 20, September 30, 2013, March 5, April 15, May 13, July 15, October 30, December 25, 2014, February 6, March 9, 2015, June 7, 2016.]

Ammiel Alcalay.  “neither wit nor gold” (from then).  Brooklyn: Ugly Ducking Presse.  Paperback original.  Contain numerous photographs by the author.

Correspondence ArtistBarbara Browning. The Correspondence Artist. Two-Dollar Radio. As the title indicates, this is an epistolary novel consisting mostly of the emails of a woman to her fictional lovers. There are a handful of photographs included, some by the author. You can see my post on this book here.

Blake ButlerBlake Butler.  There Is No Year.  NY: Harper.  Contains numerous photographs credited to Justin Dodd (cover photograph by Milan Bozic).

Julio Cortázar.  From the Observatory.  Brooklyn: Archipelago.  Paperback original.  First English translation of Prosa del Observatorio (Barcelona: Editorial Lumen, 1972).  Essentially a prose poem, which contains numerous photographs by Cortázar.  You can see my post on this book here.

Lydia DavisThe Cows.  Louisville: Sarabande.  [Quarternote Chapbook #9]. The text contains 26 photographs of cows by Lydia Davis, Theo Cote, and Stephen Davis.  Additional photographs on covers and title page.  You can see my previous post on this book here.

field-is-lethalSuzanne Doppelt. The Field Is Lethal. Denver: Counterpath. Doppelt’s poems are interspersed with pages of her own photographs, often arrayed in pairs or grids. A translation of the 2007 French title Le pré est vénéneux. You can see my post on this book here.

Joshua Edwards CampecheJoshua Edwards.  Campeche.  Las Cruces, NM: Noemi Press, 2011.  Scattered among Joshua Edward’s poems are forty photographs credited to Van Edwards, the poet’s father.

 

Foss Spoilers

Mark Foss. Spoilers. Montreal: 8th House Press. A novel with reproductions of eight vintage photo-postcards showing patients at the clinic of Dr. Mahlon Locke (1880-1942) in Williamsburg, Ontario and one photograph of the American writer Rex Beach. Locke’s clinic became famous for his early use of reflexology, especially after successfully treating Beach, who wrote about his experience with Dr. Locke in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1932.

AztlangstHarry Gamboa, Jr. Aztlángst. Los Angeles: CreateSpace. A somewhat political pastiche of the classic fotonovela by Los Angeles based photographer Harry Gamboa, Jr, using the theater group Virtual Verite as actors. You can see my post on this book here.

Stephen King11/22/63.  NY: Scribner.  Contains seven credited historic photographs relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Ben Lerner.  Leaving the Atocha Station.  Minneapolis: Coffee House Press.  Paperback original.  Contain five variously credited photographs.  You can see my previous post on this book here.

Leche

R. Zamora Linmark. Leche. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press. Contains numerous reproductions of photographic postcards of the Philippines.

Caroline Preston.  The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt.  NY: Ecco. Claiming to be “the first-ever scrapbook novel”, this “autobiography” of a girl who grows up wanting to be a writer is entirely illustrated with countless photographs of “vintage memorabilia.”

Miss PeregrinRansom Riggs.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  Philadelphia: Quirk Books.  Contains numerous “authentic, vintage found photographs…lent from the personal archives of ten collectors, people who have spent years and countless hours hunting through giant bins of unsorted snapshots at flea markets and antique malls to find a transcendent few, rescuing images of historical significance and arresting beauty from obscurity – and, most likely, the dump.”

Days Nights W12Jack Robinson [pseudonym for Charles Boyle].  Days and Nights in W12.  London: CB Editions.  A tour of the Shepherd’s Bush section of London that is partly documentary, partly fanciful.  Contains 110 photographs, presumably by the author.

Savich EventsZach Savich. Events Film Cannot Withstand. Milwaukee: Rescue Press. Includes a longish poem entitled “The Flag You Will Plant on the Peak Is a Blindfold Before,” which contains seven b&w photographs credited to Jeff Downey.

Threshold

Tate Shaw. Threshold. Rochester, NY: Preacher’s Biscuit Books. Bordering on an artist’s book, Shaw’s text is probably better classified as poetry. It consists of single sentences in the form of commands. Includes many of Shaw’s own color photographs.

Elena Mauli Shapiro13, rue Therese.  NY: Little Brown.  Contains numerous photographs.

Truitt

Sam Truitt. Vertical Elegies 6: Street Mete. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press. From the back cover: “a poetics of transcribed voice recordings and on-the-spot photos made in the streets and subways of New York between 1996 and 2004.”

il-se-peut-qu-on-s-evade

Cathy Ytak and Gérard Roundeau. Il se peut qu’on s’évade. Paris: Editions Thierry Magnier, 2011. From the publisher’s “Photo Roman” series. Text by Ytak and photographs by Rondeau.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. cathannabel #

    To add to your list – Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. I’ve had this on my ‘to read’ pile for ages, and was only alerted to its relevance by Jeanette Winterson, in her new autobiography. So, I still haven’t read Orlando, but have moved it up the list slightly, and have at least flicked through to verify that there are indeed photographs, and they are used in a somewhat Sebaldian way, I would say, to support a fictional or fictionalised narrative.

    January 6, 2012
  2. Jaromil #

    Since you have some notions of French you might be interested in the recently published “Ecorces” from Georges Didi-Huberman. It is a short narrative essay relating a visit at Auschwitz. Each short chapter starts with a picture taken by the narrator and elaborate on it. A Sebald reader should not be completely disoriented…

    http://www.leseditionsdeminuit.com/f/index.php?sp=liv&livre_id=2694

    January 10, 2012
    • Jaromil, Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll pick up a copy when I am in Paris in March. The sample looked intriguing.

      Terry

      ________________________________

      January 10, 2012
  3. Jonathan #

    After a quick browse through your blog (Great work, by the way) I didn’t see any mention of the American novelist/photographer Wright Morris. His fiction is shamefully much forgotten, and it seems to me his photography is what he’s best remembered for. He did, however, produce three photo-text works. I’ve just finished reading “Home Place” (1948) and think it worth recommending to you – fiction, generously interspersed with photographs that are more than images of what is described. Sebaldian before Sebaldian was cool.

    http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/exhibition/27

    Best,

    January 29, 2012
    • Jonathan, Thanks for the mention of Wright Morris. It’s true I haven’t written about him – yet. But his works are seminal in the history of photo-embedded fiction. You can see my listing of more than 120 books of fiction and poetry that use photographs in my LibraryThing.com catalog, which is under the user name VertigoTwo, where I include Morris’ three works.

      Terry

      ________________________________

      January 30, 2012
  4. I can honestly say that I haven’t heard about photography embedded fiction, but it does sound intriguing. I’ll have to keep an eye out for these and give them a try. Thanks for the examples, much appreciated!

    July 28, 2012
  5. J. Rohan #

    Hi. Check out Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (published in 2011). Ransom Riggs creates a fictional narrative around 44 bizarre photographs that he procured from various photo collectors and flea markets. I would love to know if you’ve seen anything like this before. It seems that there are novels that include a few photographs that complement the narrative, but are not integral to how we view the characters. Riggs develops his characters using these images. I’m currently working on an article about this, but am having a difficult time finding the right works to compare it with. At this point, I’m focusing more on photography theory and the interplay between text and image in fiction with regard to his story.

    November 29, 2012
    • Thanks for the comment on Ransom Riggs’ book. I’ve got a copy this summer but I guess I failed to update the 2011 list. I’ll do that.

      Terry

      ________________________________

      November 29, 2012

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