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F. J. Craveiro de Carvalho (Coimbra, Portugal)

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Other Rooms: Selected Poems
Other Rooms: Selected Poems
by Neil Curry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.34

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "The Guardian" Reader, 28 May 2008
To read poetry requires effort and it becomes an even more demanding job when you are reading in a language which is not your mother tongue.
I am no poetry critic though I consider myself to be reasonably well informed on contemporary poetry. I am also a "The Guardian" reader, now an online one, as a result of having lived in England for long periods.
Two years ago or so I noticed that every saturday the paper would publish a poem, "The Saturday Poem", usually by someone whose work I was not familiar with. Margaret Atwood was one of the authors published at the time. Not so long ago, one of those poems particularly caught my attention, "At le Café de la Gare", by Neil Curry.
The situation portrayed by the poem is rather "simple". A couple is about to have some tea at a french café, in or near a railway station.
Who are they? A man and a woman, two men, two women? They have time to spare before the train leaves. Are they both going home, will one be left
behind? We know they are living a tense situation (...The silence bulged/
But failed to burst. ...) and it is not unreasonable to suppose that they are not on speaking terms anymore. Some unremediable thing must have happened to them (... It was as if all this// Had taken place a year or more ago/ And only through some glitch of memory/ Was of concern to them. ...).
This vagueness, this detachment, which I would find again in a poem like "Other rooms", for instance, and the use of everyday situations and simple words to imply a lot attracted me.
I was soon ordering a copy of the book under review and actually felt tempted to venture on the translation into portuguese of some of the poems.
Translation, I feel, helps me to understand better and there is much in this book worth better understanding. I will mention just a few poem titles: "The Metaphysics of Tulips","Four Times Four", "At Samos: A Question"... I managed with the author's great generousity in helping me to prepare a small booklet of portuguese translations which will come out until the end of 2008.
I always learn from reading "The Guardian", that is clear. This time however I do have a regret, that my english is not good enough to fully enjoy the richness of Neil Curry's poetry.


A Photographer's Life: 1990-2005
A Photographer's Life: 1990-2005
by Annie Leibovitz
Edition: Hardcover

13 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More than a life document?, 6 Jan. 2007
I must say that I never considered Ms Leibovitz to be an outstanding

photographer. When I ordered the book I thought, wrongly, I might have a chance to review my opinion. It was not to be. Ms Leibovitz's book is interesting as a document of a period of her life or as a demonstration of love for that matter.

As to the pictures, I have mixed feelings. While one has strong portraits of Patti Smith or Merce Cunningham, for instance, Scarlett Johansson's is awful, the model posing in rather an awkward position.

No doubt Ms Leibovitz included the material she felt she had to. However I would rather keep the image of Ms Sontag as the physically attractive woman she really was than remembering her in a hospital bed or lying dead.


As I See It: The Photographs of John Loengard
As I See It: The Photographs of John Loengard
by Ann Beattie
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MAN WHO STOLE GEORGIA O’KEEFFE’S LITTLE BLACK STONE, 2 Mar. 2006
Some 20 years ago or so I went to a photography exhibition during “Encontros de Fotografia”, in Coimbra - Portugal, which impressed me a lot. The pictures concerned Georgia O’keeffe and her environment in New Mexico. At the time I was not so interested in Photography as I was to become later, the reasons in both cases not being relevant for what I want to write now.
At some point, I wanted to discover who had been the photographer and did some search which led me to John Loengard’s “Georgia O’keeffe at Ghost Ranch” (actually, the photographs I had seen were by Myron Wood).
The book on Georgia O. is wonderful and I emphasize this because the great merit of “As I see it” is to free Loengard from the O’keeffe images, at least from where I stand. O. K., O. K., there are two in the book, but they are masterpieces and I am aware that I am making a strong statement.
Mr Loengard says his work is a mixed bouquet. Nothing wrong with that. We have excellent portraits (Merce Cunningham’s, for instance); unusual images (Cartier-Bresson flying his kite); events that got to newspaper front pages (Ted Kenny arriving for the funeral of Mary Jo Kopechne), landscapes (The Aghileen Pinnacles); some irony ( The supper intermission at Glyndebourne); “la joie de vivre” ( The Beatles in a swimming pool); and I will leave it here since I just want to exemplify.
Different people read (or, rather, see, in this case) the same book in different ways. I would like to point out two threads that I followed while browsing through “As I see it”.
-“The image within the image”- This is, perhaps, the main one and there are lots of examples to illustrate it ( Avedon’s portrait, the Turnley twins). Ocasionally, the link, which is “supposed” to be the picture’s subject, between the photograph itself and “the second degree image” - that is, the image within the image – almost disappears in a subtle way ( André Kertész and his distortion). Some other times, the second degree image is only suggested, as we have in the spectacular picture of Leibovitz, where she stands on a gargoyle of the Chrysler Building in N. Y. to photograph dancer David Parsons, posing on another one . At first I thought it was a fake (do these people not suffer from vertigo?). The irony here is that, in the end, Ms Leibovitz ended up preferring an image she took in her studio, a less riskier place we all agree.
-“The pairing way” when two two pictures face each other. The most brilliant example is Brassai’s eye and Georgia O.’s little black stone. But there are others: Bill Cosby and the negative; George Nakashima and Loengard’s son.
That every picture tells a story is commonplace. I am much more interested in what is behind, what happens before. Therefore I found the notes accompanying each photograph, at the end of the book, important material. They are interesting, informative and amazing in some cases. What happens afterwards is worth looking forward to if it leads to a book like this. If the end of the story happens at an auction then I would say it is an “.unhappy end”


Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills
Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills
by Cindy Sherman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £28.00

6 of 77 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The emperor's new photographs, 27 Jun. 2005
Despite the fact that Art News, december 1999, included Cindy Sherman in a list of the ten top living artists, that's irrelevant from my viewpoint. Such considerations can only be of interest to those who view art works as some sort of groceries at their disposal in the supermarket down the road.
The "untitled film stills" are just a collection of "portraits" of Ms Sherman in disguise as a second rate steriotyped character removed from some movie.
The introduction itself, written by Ms Sherman herself, is nothing but a bunch of trivialities and a good example of the fact that most artists are unable to talk about their own work in an articulate and intelligent way.
Technically the pictures are poor and, naturally, one is led to wonder whether at the time Ms Sherman could dominate all the pratical sides of Photography. Moreover some are not even taken by her but by people who apparently had no particular qualifications. It's hardly surprising that some of the stills look very much like the pictures one finds in family albums.
Not wanting to be entirely negative, I would single out still #21 as interesting but I cannot bring myself to say more than that.
The principal interest I found in this book was the confirmation that the art world is full of "masterpieces" of which the future is uncertain, to say the least.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 25, 2012 2:54 PM BST


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