Weston’s Unsent Letters to Modotti
by Chad Parmenter
“With these intricate and thoughtful poems, Chad Parmenter shows himself to be a poet of lyrical intensity, intelligence, and psychological perception. This is a marvelous book. ” —Kevin Prufer
“Weston’s Unsent Letters to Modotti inhabits the fluid space between history and imagination. Parmenter’s extended persona poem deftly investigates the named but uncommunicated, that which is unfinished, unsent, unlived. Weston exists only as an eye behind the photographic lens, and is unable to fully inhabit the rest of the world, or to send the letters he writes to his sometime model and lover.” –Kathleen Jesme
Nowhere is the where we were—where I write you, at the end of the lens arc light makes in my—never our—darkroom. This is a negative of us—an Edward and Tina the world will never see, never developed into a picture. This was us in a more intimate fiction—the you made by my gaze, the me you made with yours.
But a body holds no story.
I‘m erasing it from the glass face—a new window for my studio.
My gaze sits in it. And I can‘t find you.
|Dimensions||6 × .5 × 9 in|
“In Weston’s Unsent Letters to Modotti, Chad Parmenter has recreated an intimate, intellectually invigorating relationship between photographer Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, his lover, fellow artist, and frequent subject. But there’s much more to this collection than the resurrection of a long-ago romance between two complex, at times politically revolutionary, characters. Rather, in the voice of Weston, Parmenter examines the ethics of portraiture, the difficulties of artistic objectification, the intersection of the political and the aesthetic, and the impossibility of truly knowing the mind of another. With these intricate and thoughtful poems, Chad Parmenter shows himself to be a poet of lyrical intensity, intelligence, and psychological perception. This is a marvelous book.” —Kevin Prufer
“What’s more evocative than an unsent letter? An untaken photograph. Readers familiar with Chad Parmenter’s pop-smart Batman poems may be surprised at the lyric inwardness of these epistolary meditations, which imagine Edward Weston’s fixation with his old lover, photographer Tina Modotti. Yet Parmenter’s Batman and his Weston have a logical connection: Batman is a secret lover haunted by the dark-comic tensions of Eros; Weston is a camera-superhero troubled by memories of the woman whose artistry matched his own. In this intense sequence, Weston’s waxing desire for the Modotti who escaped him becomes a metaphor for the poet’s own language searching for appropriate form.” —Penelope Pelizzon