Poetry, Photography, Ekphrasis

BookPoetry, Photography, Ekphrasis

Poetry, Photography, Ekphrasis

Lyrical Representations of Photographs from the 19th Century to the Present


September 14th, 2015





Poetry, Photography, Ekphrasis is a detailed study of the ekphrasis of photography in poetry since the 19th century. Unlike other critical studies of ekphrasis, Miller’s study concentrates solely on the lyrical ekphrasis of photographs, setting out to define how the photographic image provides a unique form of poetic ekphrasis. Moving between the disciplines of semiotics, visual studies, psychology, classical rhetoric, philosophy and literary criticism, Miller outlines what he defines as the chronotope of the photograph. Employing M.M. Bakhtin’s notion of the literary chronotope, Miller argues that the ekphrasis of photographs manifests itself in a series of chronotopic narratives. Each chapter of the book is dedicated to delineating one of these narratives. In this work, Miller engages in a literary history that follows the timeline of photography from its origins in the 19th century to its contemporary digital manifestations in the 21st. The study engages in close-readings of the works of such poets as Walt Whitman, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Hardy, Seamus Heaney, Marianne Moore and Philip Larkin. In addition, the book does the work of a comparative study, and it goes beyond the limits of Anglophone literature to include the works of such poets and writers as Walter Benjamin, Charles Baudelaire, Bertolt Brecht, Ernesto Cardenal and Zbigniew Herbert.


'Poetry, Photography, Ekphrasis is an excellent treatment of an understudied topic. Miller is willing to follow close readings where they lead, and thus the book is rich in discussions of philosophy, psychology and literary and art theory. His book will be useful to those who are interested in Ekphrasis, English poetry, American poetry, and Comparative Literature.'
Helen Emmitt


Author Information

Andrew Miller is a researcher at the University of Copenhagen.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
A Note on the Presence of Translations and Poems in their Original Languages
That Which Will Not Perish Into Art: The Chronotope Of The Photograph
The Ekphrasis Of The Cicerone: The 19th Century
No Fairer Imaging: Pope Leo XIII’s “Ars Photographica”
Favoring Nature: Herman Melville’s “On the Photograph of a Corps Commander”
As Ducks That Die in Tempests: Lewis Carroll’s “Hiawatha’s Photographing”
Imprints on a Mind of Silver: Walt Whitman’s “My Picture-Gallery”
The Snapshot Elegy
Like Bitter Tokens: Ivor Gurney’s “Photographs”
The Enargeia of the Flames: Thomas Hardy’s “The Photograph”
Prosthetic Heavens: Philip Larkin’s “Lines on a Young Lady’s Photograph Album”
The Suppressed Ekphrasis
Seeing Like Herodotus: Marianne Moore’s “The Paper Nautilus”
Seeing Through an Opaque Repose: Seamus Heaney’s “The Grauballe Man”
The Ekphrasis Of Iconic Photographs
The Horror of War: Sharon Olds’s “Coming of Age, 1966,” Kate Daniels’s “War Photograph” and Louis de Paor’s “Changeling”
A People’s Prayer: Ernesto Cardenal’s “Prayer for Marilyn Monroe”
The Ekphrastic Calligram
All in the Rubbish Heap Now: Thom Gunn’s Positives
Looking Hard At Things: Richard Howard’s “Charles Baudelaire”
A Sacred Exposure: John Logan’s “On a Photograph by Aaron Siskind”
The Anti-Ekphrasis: Larry Levis’s “Sensationalism”
The Speaking Photograph
The Helmets of the Vanquished: Bertolt Brecht’s War Primer
Dream After Dream After Dream: Adam Thorpe’s “Navaho”
The Shadow Of The Former Self
Pink and White, Black and White: Robert Penn Warren’s “Old Photograph of the Future”
On Zeno’s Arrow: Zbigniew Herbert’s “Photograph”
A Head of Fungus: John Ashbery’s “The Picture of Little J. A. in a Prospect of Flowers”
The Photoshopped Image: The Ekphrases Of Digital Photographs
Software Metaphors: Tadeusz Dąbrowski’s “I scanned my photograph from the first year” and “Resolution”
A Sublimely Blurred Unity: Klara Nowakowska’s “Low Resolution”
Coda: Sallie In Her Byzantine Mirror