Sunday, March 9, 2008

Cynthia Rylant and Walker Evans

I picked up this book at the library titled Something Permanent where poet Cynthia Rylant has utilized the famous photographer Walker Evans’ photos of the Great Depression as inspiration for poems. The poems and photographs are paired up in this book and I think it is just fabulous. The photos are amazing and Cynthia Rylant weaves wonderful short story poems about the photos that definitely left me itching to try the same thing. The poems, like I said, are wonderful stories. One, titled “Tombstone,” is about the curious tombstone sculpture of a man and his dog and how people react to seeing this tombstone. The lines at the end captures their reaction perfectly: “each had shyly to/lean over and stroke that lovely dog’s head,/swallowing back the “good boy”/that was on their wondering lips.”
There is also another poem relating to a picture of a skinny church steeple butted up against a high-rise apartment building and the great opening lines are: “It wasn’t easy being a sinner/with God Himself living right next door,” and talks about the tenants feeling guilty of literally airing their dirty laundry underneath the cross of the church. The visual and the words are just perfect together. If you ever get a chance to read this book or buy it please do, you won’t be disappointed.'s%20pages/rylant.htm

I had difficulty finding out much about Cynthia but the above link has an interview with her that I think you will enjoy. Thanks for dropping in, please stop by tomorrow!

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