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Troy Jollimore: “Polaroid Model 100 Onestep, Circa 1978”

This month, we will feature Pushcart Prize-nominated work from recent issues of Poetry Northwest, accompanied by photographs from the Poetry Northwest Instagram feed. This week: a photo-nostalgic poem from Troy Jollimore, one of our nominees for the 2014 Pushcart anthology. #Vienna A post shared by Poetry Northwest (@poetrynw) on May 17, 2013 at 6:29pm PDT Polaroid Model 1000 Onestep, Circa 1978 It might have been passed away at a yard or garage sale, to other hands who hoped to preserve, with it, from time and the gathering, unrepentant dark, some image worth saving. More likely it got shipped out in one of the many cartons of detritus our collapsing lives ejected, to end up flattened and crushed in some landfill or other, its memories vacated and extinguished like dreams that seem, during the first few moments of wakefulness, to be vivid enough to last, but which then dissipate like soap bubbles into the air. It never took very good pictures anyway: the light flat, the colors garish and maudlin. If it mattered it mattered only …

Sierra Nelson: “The First Photograph”

Over the next several weeks, we will feature Pushcart Prize-nominated work from recent issues of Poetry Northwest. First up: a poem from Sierra Nelson, one of our nominees for the 2014 Pushcart anthology. The First Photograph +++Inspired by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce’s first image Perihelion, closest to the sun. Heliography, the image. Hasn’t there been a moment you never wanted to leave? An outward listlessness, but inwardly lit, light-sensitive? Previous tests revealed how a feeling, made transparent, could be transferred to stones. Hold still, we said to the trees, the slanting rooftops. Uncap the lens and we are in France. Through the pinprick it all came to us, how close we were, upside down, several hours on the windowsill. We were surfaces arranged to receive. The pewter plate revealed buildings turning into salt, sliding away from themselves, what we could see but did not know, the graininess of the shadows. Later we passed through many hands, centuries. We had to leave. Yet I capture you. Close to the sun. I coated my longing in bitumen. — …

Andrew Zornoza: “Mirrors in the City of the Dead”

When I began to write my first book, Where I Stay, I was trying to erase the memory of certain photographs that had followed me my whole life.  I think everyone has objects like that — letters from lost friends, dried flowers, old keychains — these objects stay in some box at the back of a dusty drawer.  After years of struggling with the form of the book, I decided to just paste these photographs into the novel.  But putting photographs with text is problematic — it disrupts the suspension of disbelief that is critical to any viewing experience.  I came to an uneasy peace with this disruption — and learned to work with the space between the photographs and the sentences.  This was important to me, a type of absence.  I couldn’t have articulated that back then: I was just a kid. I had never been to Paris.  Rodenbach, I would have thought, a type of malt liquor; Levy-Dhurmer, a jeans store at the mall.  But, now, even after I’ve long retired Where I …

Spring & Summer 2013: The Photography Issue

Dear Readers, We’re pleased to report that the Spring-Summer special issue is now available– The Photography Issue– our biggest and best yet. It features poetry by Sierra Nelson, Troy Jollimore, Ellen Bass, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Francis McCue, Andrew Zawacki, and Nicky Beer, photography by Doug Keyes, Nance Van Winckel, Dianne Kornberg, and a special feature on the work of Mary Randlett, including rare photos of the last days of Theodore Roethke. There’s also a special section, Film Roll: An Expose in 24 Frames, curated with contributing editor Andrew Zawacki,  featuring a film roll’s worth of short takes on the intersections of poetry & photography, including pieces by C.D. Wright, Sharon Olds, John Yau, Paisley Rekdal, Joshua Edwards, Martha Ronk, Susan Wheeler, and many others. Throughout the issue, we examine and re-envision the intersections of poetry and photography, from the origins of the photograph to the state of the image in the digital age. Now’s the time to subscribe to ensure this special reaches you. And watch for more po-photographic inquiry in this space all summer long… …

Rebecca Hoogs: “Autobiography of Silence”

This poem is one of the newest poems in my first full-length collection, Self-Storage, and was written in response to a series of photographs. The unifying theme for the photographs (all by different artists) was that they all included people being very, very quiet. I wrote a line for each photograph and compiled the poem that way. The first person voice came early on, though the title came only after revision and is cousin to other poems in the book that are self-portraits written as animals, architectural spaces, or concepts. I included this poem in the book because, even though it felt slightly different stylistically than some of its older colleagues, it fit with one of the themes of the book, which is silence. I’m interested in what we say and don’t say. What we say when we’re not saying what we’re thinking. What secrets we’re not spilling (careful: contents may be hot). What we’re trying to tie the stem of as if that’s somehow sexy. The sore we can’t leave alone. Of course, aren’t all …