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Photography-Embedded Fiction & Poetry 2018

Here is my bibliography of works of fiction and poetry published in 2018 containing embedded photographs.  You can see bibliographies for other years underneath the pull-down menu “Photo-Embedded Literature” at the top of Vertigo.  I also maintain bibliography that spans 1892 to the present at Library Thing  (  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! [Added to March 6, 11, April 24, June 5, 2019.]



Forrest Gander. Be With. NY: New Directions, 2018. Contains a poem sequence called “Littoral Zone,” which consists of six photographs by Michael Flomen, each facing a section of the poem that, at least in part, includes verbal equivalents and/or references to the image. See my review of this book here.

decarava sweet flypaper

Langston Hughes and Roy DeCarava. The Sweet Flypaper of Life. NY: First Print Press, 2018. First published in 1955, this classic collaboration about life in Harlem began when Langston Hughes saw Roy DeCarava’s photographs and decided to base a new story around them. A beautifully-produced new edition that pays special attention to the printing of stunning DeCarava’s photographs. With a new Afterword by the photographer’s widow Sherry Turner DeCarava.

iduma pose

Emmanuel Iduma. A Stranger’s Pose. Abuja, Nigeria: Cassava Republic Press, 2018. From the publisher that launched Teju Cole back in 2007, comes this book of travel writing and b&w photography across parts of Africa. Iduma acknowledges that the book is an “imaginative gesture” and in his Foreword Cole calls the book “a ballad in which there is no need to separate dreams from the things which one experiences in a waking state.”

bosun new juche

New Juche [pseudonym]. Bosun. Paris: Kiddiepunk, 2018. A book that reads at times like a 21st century version of Jean Genet, with photographs by the author of the aging, deteriorating architecture in Rangoon.


kluge temple

Alexander Kluge. Temple of the Scapegoat: Opera Stories. NY: New Directions, 2018. Contains more than a dozen uncredited photographs (many of which are film stills) and reproductions of several old prints – all opera themed.

kopf brother

Alicia Kopf. Brother in Ice. Sheffield: And Other Stories, 2018. English translation from the Catalan original Germà de gel of 2015 by Mara Feye Lethem. A hybrid novel blending research into polar explorations with a coming-of-age story of becoming an artist and having an autistic brother. Contains drawings and uncredited photographs.

Lilley tilt

Kate Lilley. Tilt. Sydney: Vagabond Press, 2018. Poetry with three photographs and several other small images.

nguyen ghost of

Diana Khoi Nguyen. Ghost of. Oakland: Omnidawn, 2018. Poems with ten altered family photographs, several of which are used more than once.

Chronology Patterson

Zahra Patterson. Chronology. Brooklyn: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018. The publisher calls this a work of “nonfiction/essay,” but Patterson’s book converses so directly with Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s 1982 book Dictee that I felt it has to be included in this collection. Chronology is about Patterson’s failed attempt to translate a Sesotho short story into English, which, among many other topics, leads Patterson to reflect on the relationship between language and colonialism. The book combines emails, bits o memoir, handwritten notes, press releases, other texts, lists of words in Sesotho and English that verge on poetry, and loose reproductions of photographs that are inserted between specific pages of the book as illustrations.

Prynne oval

J.H. Prynne. The Oval Window. Northumberland: Bloodaxe Books, 2018. This “new annotated edition” of Prynne’s 1983 poem is now combined with photographs he made at the time and place of the poem’s composition.

robertson take

Robin Robertson. The Long Take. London: Picador, 2018. A book-length “noir narrative” poem that takes place in the US between 1946 and 1953, focusing on a D-Day veteran with PTSD. With nine historic photographs.

tillman men

Lynne Tillman. Men and Apparitions. NY: Soft Skull, 2018. Tillman’s narrator is an ethnographer of family photographs who embarks on a study of the “new man,” born under the sign of feminism. With numerous family snapshots reproduced.


15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mario Aranda Marqués #

    I have meant to do this for a long while but I’m a procrastinator. Now, I’ve finally made up my mind about sending you the titles and authors of three photo-embedded books. Please excuse I don’t offer you the whole data of them for I have them at home and presently I’m just taking a time off from work. I don’t know if any of these books has been translated into English.

    The first one, Días extraños (Strange Days), by Ray Loriga, a Spanish writer, goes back to 1994. It’s a mixture of a supposedly cruel diary, aphorism-like thoughts, poems, and passages which may be fictional or not. It is intersped with some very beautiful artistic photographic, which I guess are the work of Alberto García Alix, a very talented and famous Spanish photographer. I would say here that this is one of my favourite books from all time.

    Tle second one, Clavícula (Clavicle), is by Marta Sanz, also an Spanish writer. This one is a novel about a woman who discovers she has some kind of worrying ailment. I leave it at that in order not to be a spoiler. In this, the handful of photos might very well be selfies but they somehow add up to the story anyway.

    Finally, Ordesa, by Manuel Vilas, a third Spanish author. This is a very recent book which is having a huge success. I believe it was published by the beginning of last year and it has had already more than eight reprints. I had only a quick glimpse at it because my wife just handed it to me but I did notice the embedded photos. Vilas is also a poet, something I could tell even from my quick look.

    I’m from Mexico and I have only included Spanish authors. It’s just a coincidence: they were the ones that came to my mind. I hope that next time I can offer some titles by Mexican authors.

    Thank you very much for keeping your website.

    January 15, 2019
    • Mario, Many thanks for your reply and suggestions! I know the work of Alberto García Alix. Many years ago I traveled all over Spain while curating an exhibition of Spanish photographers. He didn’t make the final cut, I’m sorry to say, but I saw a lot of his work then. I will look for these titles. Where do you live in Mexico?

      January 15, 2019
  2. Rupert #

    A Stranger’s Pose, Emmanuel Idama

    January 27, 2019
    • Thanks, Rupert. I just ordered this. Looks great.

      January 27, 2019
  3. Hope you enjoy it. I am halfway through. I bought it on the back of a review on another blog I read: [I’m not affiliated]. I’m sure there have been some poetry chapbooks through my hands that use images/photos too, but at the moment I can’t find them.

    January 31, 2019
  4. Rupert #

    And for the 2019 list, the final part of Agustín Fernández Mallo’s Nocilla trilogy, Nocilla Lab (Fitzcarraldo), has photos within the text.

    February 4, 2019
    • Rupert, Thanks again. I read Nocilla Dream and decided not to go further. Did you like Experience and Lab?

      February 4, 2019
      • Rupert #

        I love the trilogy, yes. One of my favourite recent reads. Lab is quite different, and kind of wraps things up too. How’s A Stranger’s Pose?

        February 8, 2019
  5. Rupert, I have not even opened A Stranger’s Pose yet. Will report back in time.

    February 9, 2019
  6. pellethepoet #

    Tilt by Kate Lilley. Sydney: Vagabond Press, 2018.

    3 photographs, and several other small images.

    Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (Poetry, 2019)

    March 10, 2019
  7. Thanks for the year’s lineup!

    Just came across a 2018 publication from Ugly Duckling Presse — ‘chronology’ by Zahra Patterson. It contains some loose-leaf photographs and ephemera tucked in between the pages, as well as some hand-drawn images. The author draws inspiration from Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée — although the roles of languages are reversed. While the French was the language of the colonizer, here the author is learning Sesotho (one of the tongues spoken in Lesotho). The book revolves in great part around an encounter with a South African writer/activist/teacher Liepollo Rantekoa who died in a car accident in Sept. 2012 at the age of 29. Her premature death is also what connects her to H.K.C. as kindred spirits. As is already clear, the book is a hybrid – part memoir, part email correspondence, part dictionary, part poem…

    That hybridity also applies to another book I don’t think I mentioned before: ‘Book of Mutter’ by Kate Zambrano, semiotext(e) 2017 (so old[er] news). The title is a bilingual pun and deals with the mother’s death. A meditation in fragments on photography, memory, and art.

    April 8, 2019
    • Thanks! Are there photographs in “Book of Mutter”?

      April 9, 2019
      • There are 3: one is a screenshot from Dreyer’s Jeanne d’Arc, one is from a stage production of Brecht, and the third is actually two photos, one of the author’s mother juxtaposed with a shot from the movie Wanda by Barbara Loden. The cover image is also important, from one of Louise Bourgeois’s Cells — LB is one of the artists Zambrano engages with in this book.

        April 9, 2019
  8. Thanks, as always. I’m more interested in “Chronology,” I think. And maybe Zambreno’s newer “Heroines.’

    April 9, 2019

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