Why portraits of poets?

Of all writers, poets are most engaged with the limits and possibilities of language–
what Nathaniel Mackey has termed ‘the rickety, imperfect fit between word and
world.’ As such, they occupy a unique literary ecosystem.

Not unlike poetry coaxing the word from the world–and vice versa–portraiture
is a particularly intimate genre, a dynamic collaboration between subject and artist,
a creative tension out of which the resulting image serves to inform our impression
of the subject.  This too is a ‘rickety, imperfect fit,’ though in the case of
photography often an intentional one, employing the visual vocabulary of pose and
angle and light to variously tell and tease.

Photographer John Sarsgard has ventured into the habitat of these contemporary
poets–the language here is appropriated from natural history quite by intention–
to document a small segment of the American poetry scene, including writers both
well-known and emerging. His collaborator Larry Fagin brings an encyclopedic
knowledge of poetry to the process of presenting exemplary work by each of the
subjects.  The result is a book that is both a rich visual celebration of the art of
photographic portraiture, and an anthology of some of the finest poets at work
today–in the end, a perfect fit.

John Sarsgard’s first solo exhibition, Grand Central Portraits:
People in a New Town Square, was on view at the Municipal Art Society of New
York in 2006. Juried group shows at the International Center of Photography,
the Poetry Society of America, the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center and the
Connecticut Audubon Society, among others, have included his work.  Sarsgard’s
author photographs have appeared in a number of books of poetry. He is also a
printer in the historic hand-coated platinum process.

Larry Fagin’s latest book, Complete Fragments, was published in 2012 and
immediately became a small press bestseller.  He was co-director of the St. Mark’s
Poetry Project from 1971-1976, and founded Danspace, the dance program, at
St. Mark’s in 1975, staying on to run it until 1980. Fagin taught at the Jack
Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics from 1982-1984, and at The New School
for many years. In addition to authoring a number of volumes of his own poetry,
countless of lesser knowns publish their first book. His small press, Adventures in
Poetry, has been among the most highly regarded for many years.
Publication Date:  September 29, 2014
Perfectbound, 240 pages
ISBN:  978-1-937968-12-2

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John Godfrey
Bernadette Mayer
Bruce Andrews
Jo Ann Wasserman
Anne Waldman
Ron Padgett
Marcella Durand
Charles Bernstein
Anselm Berrigan
Jacqueline Waters
Joanne Kyger
Kostas Anagnopoulos
Jayne Cortez
Lisa Jarnot
Lewis Warsh
Ben Tripp
Mary Ferrari
David Henderson
Michael Roberts
Tom Clark
Susan Noel
Richard Roundy
Bob Perelman
Aaron Simon
Mazarine Treyz
Dick Gallup
Susie Timmons
Stacy Szymaszek
Merrill Gilfillan
Charles North
Carol Szamatowicz
Kit Robinson
Paul Violi
Ryan Nowlin
Harryette Mullen
Jennifer Moxley
David Shapiro
Diane di Prima
Cassandra Pantuso
Alice Notley
Ed Sanders
Duncan McNaughton
Erica Hunt
Omar Husain
Emma Rossi
Bill Berkson
Ted Greenwald
Eileen Hennessy
Peter Orlovsky
Rae Armantrout
Florence Kindel
Casey Drouin
David Meltzer
Steve Malmude
Miles Champion
Tuli Kupferberg
Simone Kearney
Jack Collom
Elizabeth Robinson
Allan Kaplan
Edmund Berrigan
Michael McClure
Sylvia Mae Gorelick
Tony Towle
Reed Bye
Annalisa Pesek
Anselm Hollo
Elizabeth McDaniel
Robert Elstein
Michael Gizzi
Michael Friedman
Gillian McCain
Larry Fagin
Kenward Elmslie
Ann Stephenson
Jennifer Kietzman
Michael Brownstein
Ron Silliman
Alan Bernheimer
Simon Pettet
Carla Harryman
Clark Coolidge
Jean Day
83 Contemporary American Poets

Photography by John Sarsgard
Poetry edited by Larry Fagin
Front cover photograph:  Tom Clark

Back cover photographs:
Jayne Cortez, Sylvia Mae Gorelick, Anselm
Hollo, David Henderson, John Godfrey,
Jo Ann Wasserman, Joanne Kyger, Anselm
Berrigan, Bill Berkson, Erica Hunt,
Simone Kearney, Ron Padgett,
Ann Stephenson and Bernadette Mayer
Eve of Easter
from Impatient
Second Watch
How the Sestina (Yawn) Works
Cut Shadows
'Scale shift'
The Page Torn Out
No News Is
Really There Is No Solution
‘The holes in my education’
About Flyin’ Home
Swamp Formalism
1000 Poetry Readings
New Year’s Songs
The Blue and Yellow
Why I Do or Do Not Write Poetry
Love Poem
Jogger’s Almanac
Charged Particles
Sparkling White Toast
from Hart Island
July 12, 1990
The Philosophy of New Jersey
Weightier Title
Working Girl Blues
Sleeping with the Dictionary
The Ambition of Art
The Bicycle Rider
Ars Metallurgica
from Voices
Quick Black Hole Spin-Change
Christmas Morning on the Coast
Summer of ’04
Everything Seems
My Life and Birth
Lines of Feelings
Soft Money
My Estranged Husband Sees John Clare…
Time Away
‘What about Beat food?’
Poem for My Woodburning Stove
Typical Umbrella Fiasco
Morning, Morning
Her Carnival Cruise
Phone Number
a deeper breathing with other lungs’
Hermes’ Descent
Little pieces continue as pieces
Mephisto 32
Brief Note
The Sea and the Wind
Before Rain Collapsed the Patch
‘So the ants made it to the cat food’
Occasional Angel
Seizure on a Ski Slope
Shucks Is Not Enough
Unplanned Account
White Attic
Each Day Brings a New Podcast
from Sunset Debris
Sleep City Squeegee
Blue Room
from Baby
Speech to a Mirror
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