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Photography-Embedded Fiction & Poetry 2011

Here is my bibliography of works of fiction and poetry published in 2011 containing embedded photographs.  If you know of a book that I have not mentioned, please let me know in a comment. My thanks to the many Vertigo readers who have already pointed out books that I had not known about. [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, July 6, August 22, 2017, February 8, 2020.]

Ammiel Alcalay.  “neither wit nor gold” (from then).  Brooklyn: Ugly Ducking Presse, 2011.  Paperback original.  Contain numerous photographs by the author.

Lambers Nachts

Michael Arenz & Hansgert Lambers. Nacts, wenn der Tage dich Erzählt. Berlin: Ex Pose Verlag, 2011. Photographs by Lambers paired with poems by Arenz.

Bouce coat

Frank Cottrell Boyce. The Unforgotten Coat. London: Walker Books, 2011. In this young adult novel, a teacher takes under her wing two newly immigrated Mongolian boys who appear in her sixth-grade class one morning. With Polaroid photographs by Carl Hunter and Clare Heney.

Correspondence ArtistBarbara Browning. The Correspondence Artist. Two-Dollar Radio, 2011. 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, 2011.  Contains numerous photographs credited to Justin Dodd (cover photograph by Milan Bozic).

Julio Cortázar.  From the Observatory.  Brooklyn: Archipelago, 2011.  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 Davis.  The Cows.  Louisville: Sarabande, 2011.  [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, 2011. 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, 2011. 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.


Harry Gamboa, Jr. Aztlángst. Los Angeles: CreateSpace, 2011. 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.

Gander Core

Gander, Forrest. Core Samples from the World. NY: New Directions, 2011. Four of the poems in this book are accompanied by series of photographs by Raymond Meeks, Graciela Iturbide, and Lucas Foglia. The photographs are all printed on separate pages within the poems, so it’s not clear what the relationship is between the images and the poems is meant to be. My sense is that the images sit parallel to the text, not necessarily as illustrations but as a contribution that is equal to the written poem.

Stephen King11/22/63.  NY: Scribner, 2011.  Contains seven credited historic photographs relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Ben Lerner.  Leaving the Atocha Station.  Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2011. Paperback original.  Contain five variously credited photographs.  You can see my previous post on this book here.


R. Zamora Linmark. Leche. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2011. Contains numerous reproductions of photographic postcards of the Philippines.

Phillips arthur

Arthur Phillips. The Tragedy of Arthur. NY: Random House, 2011. A faux autobiography, which contains several photographs, followed by a fake “lost” play by Shakespeare.

Caroline Preston. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt. NY: Ecco, 2011. 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 Peregrin

Ransom Riggs.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2011.  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 W12

Jack Robinson [pseudonym for Charles Boyle].  Days and Nights in W12.  London: CB Editions, 2011.  A tour of the Shepherd’s Bush section of London that is partly documentary, partly fanciful.  Contains 110 photographs, presumably by the author.

Savich Events

Zach Savich. Events Film Cannot Withstand. Milwaukee: Rescue Press, 2011. 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.



Tate Shaw. Threshold. Rochester, NY: Preacher’s Biscuit Books, 2011. 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, 2011.  Contains numerous photographs. An American professor arrives in Paris to find a box of letters, photographs, and memorabilia in the office he takes over, sparking an imaginative investigation into the possible life of the woman who left these items behind. Contains numerous photographs.


Sam Truitt. Vertical Elegies 6: Street Mete. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press, 2011. 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.”


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.


10 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…

    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.



      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.


    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 catalog, which is under the user name VertigoTwo, where I include Morris’ three works.



      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.



      November 29, 2012
  6. I was reminded recently that Arthur Philips’s The Tragedy of King Arthur (Random House, 2011) had some photographs in it. I started the book when it came out, checked it out from a local library, but then travel interrupted the reading and I never went back to it. While it doesn’t have rave reviews, I enjoyed it, and reading some Shakespeare somehow brought to mind this novel construed around a newly uncovered play by the bard, which may or may not be a hoax.

    February 8, 2020
  7. Great! I added it. Thank you.

    February 8, 2020

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