Poetry as response to a photobook?

squido lense .

Photography books are sometimes a near-perfect art form establishing a lasting, shared connection between author and reader. So, in this case, after spending a long thoughtful time entranced by Lonie Hampton’s book In the Shadow of Things (a very personal book about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I felt at first compelled to respond in the form of a poem, rather than a traditional prose review of a photobook:

furtive snaps
blurry, flared with blinding light
dark details hidden in shadows
especially peculiar these that made the cut
these to be placed and bound so
in a volume, each mostly
floating adrift tenuous connections
an archipelago hinting at some mystery
circling, indirect
glances stolen in quick moments
proof, evidence
chronological flow
(except for those dozen or so asterisks*)
precise, precious, detailed
invasive elusive allusive
a damaged mind seeking its own way
to the bottom of
the troubles’ swirling source

manic, a plan to pin down these bits
like bugs or flowers in a box or book
before a new order is imposed
rational, organic, determined, willful
from this decades-old disorder
worlds of words and letters and singular rules
and manners scrambled in a lost code

a fight for power and control
it’s not normal, it’s not conventional
but yes it is, just different, clearly avoiding
the flaws and illogic of those other so-called
codes of
conventional behavior

the silence of the photos
animated finally
by the precisely preserved verbal transcriptions
tucked into organized columns of text at the end,
a flow that has itself been shuffled to mirror some
strange inner-logic

how many thousand were left out
not scraps drifting about on the cutting room floor
but bundled preciously, labelled, and put into boxes
almost all of time’s tedious march
indexed and preserved
never again to see the light of day

By the way, you can find the conventional book review here in Lens Culture, as well.