Photo Poetry

THE NEW YORK TIMES has a gorgeous slideshow up of Allen Ginsberg’s snapshots of the best minds of his generation. I’ve always loved these photos and many of them have been collected in one volume or another. The slideshow features highlights of a current show up at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. This one of Kerouac has been tacked up to many of my writing desks over the years. Ginsberg captioned it — in his distinctive prose-poetry thusly:

“Jack Kerouac wandering along East 7th street after visiting Burroughs at our pad, passing statue of Congressman Samuel “Sunset” Cot, “The Letter – Carrier’s Friend” in Tompkins Square toward corner of Avenue A, Lower East Side; he’s making a Dostoyevsky mad-face or Russian basso be-bop Om, first walking around the neighborhood, then involved with The Subterraneans, pencils & notebook in wool shirt-pockets, Fall 1953, Manhattan.”
1953

These photos were small poems and made me think about how thin the line is between the written word and the visual statement can be — beautiful complete little stories told in visual moments.

photo credit:
via National Gallery of Art site
gelatin silver print
Gift of Gary S. Davis
2009.108.2

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