Sunday, April 13, 2008

Life Flickring By, Library of Congress Style

Today's post, while I'm mired in revising a long essay on how various texts travel around the landscape of Beowulf, causing all sorts of interpretive crises for the communities who end up encountering them, is about the picture that forms part of this blog's title.

I've had a couple of folks ask me where it's from. The Library of Congress has a Flickr photostream, including a set of over 1600 colour photographs from the 1930s and 1940s. To quote the LoC's introductory material:

These vivid color photos from the Great Depression and World War II capture an era generally seen only in black-and-white. Photographers working for the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) created the images between 1939 and 1944 [...] The FSA/OWI pictures depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, with a focus on rural areas and farm labor, as well as aspects of World War II mobilization.

The one I chose for this blog is called "At the Vermont state fair, Rutland" and was taken by Jack Delano. Below is another of his, called "Side Show at the Vermont state fair, Rutland" which I almost chose, but in the end I love how our view of the fair ends up being through a trailer, with the blue sky framed against the orange paint. Plus, the guy staring of into the distance in front of trailer fascinates me: it's as if he's looking towards a horizon he might be contemplating walking towards. I wonder if he ever did.

So, lastly, a challenge/opportunity. Poet John Gallaher has in the past posted pictures on his blog and wondered what poems/poets might echo them. I'm keen to see what poems/poets images lead us to, so your challenge is to either write a poem or find a poem that somehow sums up or responds to this image. I'm going to try to post an image a week, and see if we can get some conversation between images and poems new and already written.

No comments: