Still Life: Poems and Photographs
This collection has been generated over a period of two years of writing. It encompasses lie de Goree, a small island off the coast of Senegal, and Oscoda, MI, where I spent my childhood summers. Each of these places is sacred in its own right. Many of these pieces were written while I was living in Dakar, Senegal and many have been written from photographs. Photography is an essential element of this project. The photograph is powerful because it speaks insistently and silently, capturing the depth and pressure of history. These particular photographs have been taken by myself and by others, and they offer a way of getting at the various ways in which different people see. The poems are translations, combinations, permutations of visual, emotional, and physical experiences. In both, I seek the words half-spoken, the quiet prayers, and I hope to transport my audience beyond history and geography. Because so many of the pieces incorporate words from Wolof and French, I have included a glossary at the end with translations of words and phrases, in addition to a list of captions and credits for the photographs.