Friday, March 17, 2017

John Brantingham

This project's first feature is one of the brightest, most influential poets working in Southern California today, and I'm happy to say one of my best friends.  John Brantingham's poetry is wonderfully sweet, poignant, and intimately tied to the geography and environment of his region.  His work explores the human condition, it can be joyful and humorous, risky, and always feels like it is part of a larger conversation.  It is an honor to feature him in the launch of this project.

This photoshoot was done on Mt. Baldy, near the area John grew up in and has known most of his life.  The poem featured below is the poem he was writing during the shoot.

9 Ways to Locate the Ghost of Yourself in the High Sierra
by John Brantingham

1. Press your ear to the trunk. The loggers, their mad, drunken songs.

2. Lightning storm, sugar pine, your head upturned, your mouth a fat bowl.

3. A girl curls into the little gap burned into a sequoia tree the way a bird sleeps a nest.

4. Translucent shrimp haunt the caves beneath your soles. Shout to them as you pass.

5. Locate the treeline by following the pika’s chirp.

6. Fire season and the smoke chokes your cough. Now the forest is in you too.

8. What happened to 7? He wandered too close to the river, swept into everlasting.

9. A turkey vulture’s wobbling balance on the air. Last night’s dinner still steams his mouth.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Poets and Photography: What is this project?

Some time back I came across this wonderful article by Corinne Segal describing the amazing photo work being done by B.A Van Sise in chronicling and documenting some of today's greatest living poets.  What really captivated me, what made this work be more than just portraits of writers, is the great extent, the lengths to which Van Sise went to assure that each poet's individual nature, their essence was captured in their portrait.  Each photograph as elegantly unique as each subject's poetry. Charmed and a bit enamored with this concept, I've set out in similar fashion.  It is the intent of this ongoing project, Portraits of Poetry, to create an online gallery featuring photographs of contemporary writers and poets along with their written work.  In doing so, to narrow and blur the gap between the visual and written arts, and maybe even expand on the meaning of "poetry".