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Photography-Embedded Fiction & Poetry 2013

Here is my bibliography of works of fiction and poetry published in 2013 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 with new titles February 5, March 5, May 12, May 18, July 29, December 30, 2014, January 25, March 9, April 8, April 26, April 30, September 18, 2015, March 28, April 17, June 7, September 9, 2016, December 26, 2017, August 18, 2018, October 17, 2020.]

Shiki Nagaoka

Mario Bellatin. Shiki Nagaoka: A Nose for Fiction. Los Angeles: Phoneme Media, 2013. A faux biography of a non-existent author, complete with photographic documentation of Nagaoka’s life. Originally published in Spanish under the title of Shiki Nagaoka: Una Nariz de Ficción by Editorial Sudamericana (Buenos Aires) in 2001.

Boyle Manet Girl

Charles Boyle. The Manet Girl. Cromer, Norfolk, UK: Salt, 2013. “The Rainy Season,” one of the short stories in this collection contains a single photograph.


Dror Burstein. Netanya. Champaign: Dalkey Archive Press, 2013. A translation by Todd Hasek-Lowy from the 2010 Hebrew title of the same name.


Marie Calloway. what purpose did i serve in your life. NY: Tyrant Books, 2013. With numerous uncredited photographs.


S.D. Chrostowska. Permission. Champaign: Dalkey Archive Press, 2013. Contains a number of mostly uncredited photographs.

Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott. Decomp. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2013. Collis and Scott placed copies of Charles Darwin’s On the Orin of Species in various locations around British Columbia and then retrieved them a year later. The remains were photographed as found poems and additional poems were written in response to the images.

Jeffrey Deaver. The October List. NY: Grand Central, 2013. Each of the 36 chapters opens with a photograph by the author. A mystery, but in this case the chapters move in reverse chronology.

Joshua Edwards. Imperial Nostalgias. Brooklyn: Ugly Ducking Presse, 2013. This volume of poetry contains a sequence of thirteen uncredited photographs (presumably by the author) called “Valley of Unrest.”

Jim Fergus. The Memory of Love . Tumacacori, AZ [self-published], 2013. This novel of the life of Chrysis Jungbluth contains a single photograph on the final page – a still life consisting of a 1929 snapshot of Jungbluth that is resting on a tin of English cigarettes.

Peter Gizzi and Richard Kraft. In the Air. NY & an Diego: Manor House, 2013. Paired poems by Gizzi and photographs of birds flying on the opposite page by Kraft.

Kate Greenstreet. Young Tambling. Boise: Ahsahta Press, 2013. Poems with numerous photographs credited to the author.

Jeff Griffin. Lost and. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2013. “Found” poetry and photographs, with all of the contents having been found in the deserts of Nevada between 2010 and 2013. See my comments on this book here.

Daisy Hildyard. Hunters in the Snow. London: Jonathan Cape, 2013. Contains fifteen images, including reproductions of artwork, images of pages of other books, a page from an Asterix comic, and some architectural details. See my review of this book here.

Nathan Hoks. The Narrow Circle. NY: Penguin, 2013. Contains thirty-two images, nearly all photographs, credited to a wide variety of sources. See my posts on this book here.

Benjamin Hollander. In the House Un-American. Northampton: Clockroot Books, 2013. Most of the images in this novel are credited to the author.

Susan Howe. Sorting Facts; or, Nineteen Ways of Looking at Marker. NY: New Directions, 2013. Howe’s poem/essay deals with film and the death of her husband. Contains thirteen stills from films by Chris Marker, Dziga Vertov, and Andrei Tarkovsky. See my comments on this book here.

Jeff Jackson. Mira Corpora. n.p.: Two Dollar Books, 2013. The novel opens and closes with the top and bottom halves of a torn photograph of a boy, credited to Michael Salerno.

Esther Kinsky. Naturschutzgebiet: Gedicte und Fotografien. Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 2013. A six-section book-length poem by Kinsky, which includes 41 photographs by the author (40 in color and 1 in b&w). The photographs were all made on what was once the site of a very large private orthopedic institution for children and adolescents, which closed its doors in 2000 when it merged and moved elsewhere within Berlin. The 40 color photographs of slowly decaying buildings and overgrown grounds seem to constitute a wordless section of Kinsky’s poem.


Rachel Kushner. The Flame Throwers. NY: Scribner’s, 2013. Contains numerous photographs that are credited to various sources.

And Every Day

Kwiatkowski Every Day

Paul Kwiatkowski. And Every Day Was Overcast. NY: Black Balloon, 2013. A “photo-novel” with extensive photographs by the author. The top image shows the trade paperback edition, the lower image shows the hardcover edition. Sex, drugs, guns, and death metal music – growing up in southern Florida. Kwiatkowski’s photographs have echoes of Larry Clark’s Tulsa and and a bit of Alec Soth.

Luiselli Historia Dientes

Valeria Luiselli. La historia de mis dientes. Mexico City: Sexto Piso, 2013. With illustrations by Daniela Franco that combine photography with drawings, and with 18 photographs credited to various individuals. Translated into English in 2015 as The History of My Teeth.


Bernadette Mayer. The Helens of Troy, NY. NY: New Directions, 2013. Contains twenty uncredited photographs (presumably by the poet) of women named Helen who live in Troy, New York. See my comments on this book here.

A True Novel

Minae Mizumura. A True Novel. NY: Other Press, 2013. A translation by Juliet Winters Carpenter from the Japanese Honkaku Shosetsu, originally published in 2002. Contains numerous photographs credited to Toyota Horiguchi. The photographs are not included in the original Japanese edition but were added for the English edition. I am not sure if they are included in editions translated into other languages.


Sharmistha Mohanty. Five Movements in Praise. Mumbai: Almost Island Books, 2013. Contains color photographs credited to several photographs, plus reproductions of Indian paintings and sculptures. See my comments on this book here.


Marisha Pessl. Night Film. NY: Random House, 2013. A mystery centered on the death of a woman whose father was is reclusive director of cult horror films. Contains a number of photographs, credited to various sources.

Miss Peregrine

Ransom Riggs and Cassandra Jean. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel. NY: Yen Press, 2013. This graphic novel extends the story found in Riggs’ 2011 novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, using photographs from the novel interwoven with graphic novel artwork by Cassandra Jean. Approximately 24 photographs appear on 14 of the 272 pages.


Nicolas Rothwell. Belomor. Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2013. Contains a single photograph by Alexander Rodchenko.

The Power

Valerie Sayers. The Powers. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2013. A novel about Yankees baseball player Joe DiMaggio, illustrated with many photographs credited to a wide variety of sources, including the Farm Security Administration.


Schneiderman sic

Schneiderman, Davis. [SIC]. Seattle: Jaded Ibis Press, 2013. This entire tongue-in-cheek “novel” consists of plagiarized sections from numerous sources, including Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, “The Tragedy of Hamlet,” The Rape of the Lock, “The Red-Headed League,” Joyce’s Ulysses, “An Act for the General Revision of the Copyright Law,” the text of the Emergency Broadcast System Test, and more. All of the borrowed texts are credited to Schneiderman as the “author.” The book also includes twenty-two snapshot-like photographs that are staged images made by Andi Olsen (wife of writer Lance Olsen). Each photograph includes a mysterious, ghostly, all-white person.


Eleni Sikelianos. The Loving Detail of the Living & he Dead. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2013. Poetry with two photographs: Man Ray’s portrait of Proust on his death bed and an image of a newspaper clipping.

Sinclair Red Eye


Iain Sinclair. Red Eye. London: Test Centre, 2013. Poems accompanied by sixteen color-saturated film stills taken from 8mm movies made by Sinclair “in Hackney after 1969.”


Ali Smith. Artful. London: Hamish Hamilton, 2013. Invited to give four lectures at Oxford University in 2012, Smith decided to embed her lectures – “On time,” “On form,” “On edge,” and “On offer and on reflection” – within a fictional text involving a narrator mourning the death of his/her lover. The narrator comments on and occasionally critiques the four lectures left behind by the lover. At the conclusion of the final lecture, there is a color plate section that reproduces works of art, book covers, photographs and other items referenced in the lectures.

Steve Tomasula. Once Human: Stories. Tuscaloosa: FC2, 2013. Numerous illustrations, including photographs.

Elisabeth Tonnard. In This Dark Wood. n.p.: J and L Books, 2013. Tonnard pairs photographs from the Joseph Selle Archive of San Francisco street portraits with ninety different translations of the opening lines of Dante’s Inferno. See my comments on this book here.

Tara Varney and Brian Colley writing as Tara Hargrove. The Hargrove Family History. Kansas City MO: KC Stage, 2013. A fictional family history published to accompany an exhibition of the same title held at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, December 2012-March 2013. Contains fifteen photographs – some of museum objects, and some altered photographs and/or newly-created photographs representing the fictional family. See my comments on this book here.

Cat Winters. In the Shadow of Blackbirds. NY: Amulet, 2013. A young adult novel of World War I, the 1918 influenza epidemic, and spiritualism, with eight photographs and two reproductions of WWI-era posters. The photographs are all b&w historic images credited to various public collections. Included are several superb images of “spirit photography.”

Michael Allen Zell and Louviere + Vanessa. The Oblivion Atlas. New Orleans: Lavender Ink, 2013. A collaborative work with stories by Zell and photographs and other artwork by Louviere + Vanessa.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the year’s round up. The only things that I would perhaps add to the list are Roger Grenier’s Box of Photographs (altough 2013 applies to the English translation only, Fr. edition came out in 2010); and Keith Waldrop’s Light While There Is Light.

    February 4, 2014
  2. Thanks for the two suggestions. I didn’t know Waldrop’s book at all, only his poetry. I’ve looked at A Box of Photographs before and tried to decide if it is fiction or memoir (not that the two don’t often overlap). Any opinion?

    February 4, 2014
    • My idea of fiction is that it inescapable :-). Interestingly, Waldrop’s autobiographical book is ostensibly subtitled ‘An American History’ and then below labeled ‘A Novel’.
      I wonder what you thought about Chrostowska’s ‘Permission’: I somewhat regretted recommending it – as much as I wanted to like it (for the breadth of cultural/political experiences alluded to, for the love of Blanchot…), I found the prose more belabored than thought-provoking, very abstract but not in the way Blanchot can at times seem abstract, and appreciated it best perhaps when it was least self-reflexive.

      February 4, 2014
      • Looks like I’ll have to get both of your new recommendations.

        I read Permission a while ago (thanks once again!) and still cannot decide if I want to write about it or not. Since then I have read two interviews with her that simultaneously cleared up some things and made others murky. On the one hand, I can appreciate the book more now that I know the way it was constructed in real time, so to speak, as a series of emails to someone. Each chapter now seems like a stand-alone essay shaped in a specific moment. But I’m stymied to understand why it takes an interview to make this clear. If this is so important, why isn’t it made clear in the book that Chrostowska actually emailed someone out of the blue? The act of emailing a stranger and hoping the person won’t reply feels like old performance art more than anything else. And I felt that the philosophical angle, the whole bit about Mauss and his theory of social reciprocity, which was so important to the narrator, was utterly uninteresting. That said, there were passages that I found intriguing and I think the images might be the best part of the book.

        February 4, 2014
  3. It is interesting to learn that these letters were sent on the indicated dates to a real-life person (a filmmaker?), and (unedited?) gathered in the form of a book, but ultimately it makes little difference to me whether the performative gesture is a fiction or not (that is, I am not sure if it makes a difference: would it make more of a difference if the letters were published by the recipient not the writer; might not the desire of a “pure” gift be better satisfied?). In any case, attempting to theorize one’s gesture in the process of making it is hard, and I can appreciate the experiment… And I agree with you that the book succeeds best in the concrete images it evokes or shows. If you do decide to review, I will be very interested to read your impressions in more detail.

    A propos “theorizing”, I think you might enjoy a book of poetry by a young poet who, I think, manages to pull it off: “Sisyphus, outdone” by Nathanaël (aka Nathalie Stephens): I very much enjoyed the first book of prose poems I came across, “Paper City” from Coach House Press, and this latest book is a very thoughtful (and erudite) meditation on photography, catastrophe, and memory as literal and figurative seismic events. The book also includes a handful of (carefully credited) photographs (perhaps something to add to your 2012 list?).

    February 5, 2014
    • Thanks for yet another tip. I’ll get Sisyphus, outdone. It looks like Nathanael teaches at the School of the Art Institute, which is where Jim Elkins (the subject of my last post) also teaches. Stay in touch.

      February 5, 2014
  4. Jan Verstraete #

    Just finished the Dutch translation of a Swedish author, Göran Rosenberg. Don’t know if there is an English translation but somewhat freely translated the title is A short stop on the way to Auschwitz. A memoir of a Swedish Jew whose parents survived the Holocaust and an attempt to explain the father’s suicide in the end, containing several photos.

    February 6, 2014
    • Jan, Thanks. There does not seem to be an English translation yet. But I’ll keep an eye out for one.

      February 14, 2014
      • Jan Verstraete #

        There will be an English translation (The Other Press in US and Granta in Uk) in the course of 2013-14.

        February 16, 2014
  5. Stephen St. John #

    Check out “My Summer with Eddie” by Stephen St. John. Shortest Short Stories of 7552 Melrose Ave, LA, CA. Published Dec. 2013. Two volume collection of fictional photo short stories from the summer of 1979. The stories feature the storefront, “Dodson’s”,
    legendary bank robber Eddie Dodson’s furniture shop.

    June 27, 2014
  6. Stephen, Thanks for the note. I’ve just bought volume 1. -Terry

    June 29, 2014
  7. Another belated recommendation for 2013: Nikky Finney’s “Rice”, a book of poetry published by Northwestern Univ. Press and containing ten vintage family photographs. I first encountered Finney’s work at the Massachussetts Poetry Festival a few years back, and was quite impressed with her book “Head Off & Split”. The poems in “Rice” range from airy lines of immediate personal experience to denser explorations of family history intertwined with the history of slavery in South Carolina. Finney has an ear for vernacular rhythms. The photographs aren’t just thrown into the book — there is an interesting relationship between them and the text. And there is even a poem on photography, ‘Daguerre of Negras’.

    April 13, 2017
    • Thanks! I’ll check this out.

      April 17, 2017
  8. pellethepoet #

    Canicule by Louis Armand. Equus Press, London, 2013. Profusely illustrated with b&w photos.

    March 18, 2021
  9. Many thanks for the tip. This looks interesting. I just bought it. I hope all is well with you.

    March 18, 2021

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