Archive for the ‘DoubleTake’ Tag

Who Reads Poetry?   5 comments

To Make Soft II 05-22-14 blog“Who Reads Poetry/” — Image by kenne


Who reads poetry? Not our intellectuals:
they want to control it. Not lovers, not the combative,
not examinees. They too skim it for bouquets
and magic trump cards. Not poor schoolkids
furtively farting as they get immunized against it.

Poetry is read by the lovers of poetry
and heard by some more they coax to the cafe
or the district library for a bifocal reading.
Lovers of poetry may total a million people
on the whole planet. Fewer than the players of skat.

What gives them delight is a never-murderous skim
distilled, to verse mainly, and suspended in rapt
calm on the surface of paper. The rest of poetry
to which this was once integral still rules
the continents, as it always did. But on condition now

that its true name is never spoken. This feral poetry,
the opposite but also the secret of the rational,
who reads that? Ah, the lovers, the schoolkids, 
debaters, generals, crime-lords, everybody reads it:
Porsche, lift-off, Gaia, Cool, patriarchy.

— from the poem, “THE INSTRUMENT” by Les Murray

DoubleTake, Fall, 1999

Sadness Of The Moon   Leave a comment

Moon & Strom Shots August 2012Sadness of the Moon — Image by kenne


Tonight the moon is full of laziness —

Like a beauty reclining on many cushions

Before going to sleep, with light and distracted touch,

Caressing the contours of her breasts.


Upon the satin backs of soft avalanches

She abandons herself to the touch of her own hands,

And faintly looks down upon pale white visions

That climb into space like tropical vines.


From time to time, in her lonely delirium,

She lets a quick tear shoot across the sky,

And a pious poet, awake all through the night,


Takes this pale tear like a fragment of opal

Into the palm of his hand, and places it within his heart,

Far from the eyes of the sun.


— Charles Baudelaire
Translated by Wes Wallace



Some Go Hunting For Light   6 comments

Lighthouse 2 blogEdward Hopper’s Lighthouse Village, Cape Elizabeth (1929)

Lighthouse 4 Hopper photo blog

Maine house, 1998, by Michael H. Coles

There is so much I love about the art of Edward Hopper, which is why I continue to turn to his work — so on the pulse of us as Americans. I have never been to Maine, let through painting like Lighthouse Village, I feel as if I grow up in Cape Elizabeth — his inspiration allows my imagination to capture reality.

“I once told Hopper that he shows us who we are,” said poet William Carlos Williams. “He’d have no part of my enthusiasm, or extravagance. ‘Yes, I try,’ he said–and then he spoke about ‘light,” how hard he looks for it. He told me to go ‘hunting’ for light, and I liked hearing him use that word–seeing his face get lit up as he spoke!” (“Seeking Maine’s Light,” DoubleTake, Winter 2000)

The Michael H. Coles photograph of a Maine house taken not far from where Hopper painted Lighthouse Village illustrates how Hopper was able to capture the light.


Edward Hopper, Self-portrait

Edward Hopper, Self-portrait

Edward Hopper and the House by the Railroad (1925)

by Edward Hirsch

Out here in the exact middle of the day,
This strange, gawky house has the expression
Of someone being stared at, someone holding
His breath underwater, hushed and expectant;

This house is ashamed of itself, ashamed
Of its fantastic mansard rooftop
And its pseudo-Gothic porch, ashamed
of its shoulders and large, awkward hands.


The House by the Railroad by Edward Hopper 1925

But the man behind the easel is relentless.
He is as brutal as sunlight, and believes
The house must have done something horrible
To the people who once lived here

Because now it is so desperately empty,
It must have done something to the sky
Because the sky, too, is utterly vacant
And devoid of meaning. There are no

Trees or shrubs anywhere–the house
Must have done something against the earth.
All that is present is a single pair of tracks
Straightening into the distance. No trains pass.

Now the stranger returns to this place daily
Until the house begins to suspect
That the man, too, is desolate, desolate
And even ashamed. Soon the house starts

To stare frankly at the man. And somehow
The empty white canvas slowly takes on
The expression of someone who is unnerved,
Someone holding his breath underwater.

And then one day the man simply disappears.
He is a last afternoon shadow moving
Across the tracks, making its way
Through the vast, darkening fields.

This man will paint other abandoned mansions,
And faded cafeteria windows, and poorly lettered
Storefronts on the edges of small towns.
Always they will have this same expression,

The utterly naked look of someone
Being stared at, someone American and gawky.
Someone who is about to be left alone
Again, and can no longer stand it.

A Lyric by Woody Guthrie — Reuben James   2 comments

Reuben Jane- blogA Lyric by Woody Guthrie — from DoubleTake  Spring 1999

4107060-1x1-700x700Woody Guthrie in NYC’s old Irish tavern McSorley’s Old Ale House
(Images may be subject to copyright.)

September 11, 2001 — Writings and Images From DoubleTake 2001 Special Edition   Leave a comment

DoubleTake Collage blog

DoubleTake Special Edition Cover Photo by Kevin Bubriski: Top Right Photo by Peter Turnley, Bottom Right by Kevin Bubriski


These are no pages for the young,
who are better off in one another’s arms,

nor for those who just need to know
about the price of gold
or a hurricane that is ripping up the Keys. 

But eventually you may join
the crowed who turn here first to see
who has fallen in the night,
who has left a shape of air walking in their place.

Here is where the final cards are shown,
the age, the cause, the plaque of deeds,
and sometimes an odd scrap of news –
that she collected sugar bowls,
that he played solitaire without and clothes.

And the end is where the survivors
huddle under the tin roof of a paragraph,
as if they had escaped the flame of death. 

What better way to place a thin black frame
around the things of the morning –
the hand-painted cup,
the hemispheres of a cut orange,
the slant of sunlight on the table.

And often a most peculiar pair turns up,
strange roommates lying there
side by side on the page –
Arthur Godfrey next to Man Ray,
Bo Diddley by the side of Dale Evans.

It is enough to bring to mind an ark of death,
not the couples of the animal kingdom,
but rather pairs of men and women
ascending the gangplank two by two,

Surgeon and model,
balloonist and metalworker,
an archaeologist and an authority on pain.

Arm in arm, they get on board
then join the others leaning on the rails,
all saved at last from the awful flood of life –

So many of them every day
there would have to be many arks,
an armada to ferry the dead
over the heavy waters that roll beyond the world,

and many Noahs too,
bearded and fiercely browed,
vigilant up there at every prow.

— Billy Collins


“Yet again, as we considered what certain youngsters had to offer the eyes and ears of others, we recalled the words of a New Jersey pediatrician, William Carlos Williams, as recalled by his son, William Eric Williams, also a pediatrician of America’s Garden State, just south of the Manhattan skyline:

“Dad would come home from his house calls {to 9 Ridge Road, Rutherford, where both those does lived and practiced medicine} and he’d be excited, we could see — his face glowing with the light a kid had given him: something said, something drawn. He called those kids him teachers. ‘They don’t miss a trick, and there’s little that passes them by.’ We’d nod — glad to see and enjoy dad, the ever grateful student, saluting with all his heart the boys and girls, ‘the young writers and artists of America,’ he called them, who would always get him going so much.”

Sarah Himmel, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachustts

Sarah Himmel, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Melanie Snow, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Melanie Snow, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Danny Beren, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Danny Beren, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Emily Smith, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Emily Smith, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

All Images from the 2000 Special Edition of DoubleTake Magazine

Gas Prices — Religious Messages And Gas Signs   Leave a comment

Turner - DoubleTake Photo 2 Gas Station blogJasper, Alabama, 1987 — Photo by Sam Fentress in the September 1987 issue of “DoubleTake” 

With the worsening crisis in the middle-east and oil prices well over $110 a barrel, I thought I would share this 1987 photo showing gas prices with the religious message above this Shell station sign. I’m not sure such messages help, but what the hell!

“Some passersby take exception to the mixing of spiritual and commercial messages, Fentress says, but he believes the signs were made with the best of intentions.”

“It reminds me of a joke I heard once about a guy who goes to confession and asks, ‘Father, is it OK if I smoke while I pray?’ And the priest says, ‘No, my son.’ But when the next guy comes in and asks, ‘Father, is it OK if I pray while I smoke?’ the priest says, ‘Sure, that’s fine.’ “


A Flashback To “DoubleTake” #13   3 comments

Virtual IllusionsDoubleTake #13 blog

Saturday evening light
Flashback to yesteryear,
Listening to the radio
Reading to a musical background.

Pausing the reading,
Surfing radio frequencies
Listening to the words
Of one-note talk shows.

Turning the dial to the left
Searching for painted words
A spontaneous overflow
Streaming powerful feelings.

Hearing words of choice and form
Words expressing the unspoken
Evoking times past
With times present.

Connecting, but questioning,
Who is this poet?
Line after line
Words shared in time.

How could this be?
Do I know her?
Read her poetry?
Heard her read?

Who is she?
Continuing to listen
Who is she?
Words replaced by silence.

Listening carefully,
Who is she?
Loueva Smith –
That’s it, Loueva Smith!

Knowing her name,

Loueva Smith -- Photoshopped image by kenne from Google Images

Loueva Smith — Photoshop image by kenne from Google Images

Time to Google,
Generating 21 results
One, DoubleTake #13.

Now I know
A virtual illusion
Figment of imagination
Arising out of nothingness.

But, just maybe
She does exist
In the middle
Of nowhere else to go.

Searching through office shelves,
There it was, DoubleTake #13.
Found, but not lost,
Words “…she had learned to keep quiet.”

 — Kenne

(Originally posted in 2008)

DoubleTake magazine was unique in American publishing, influencing the way other media began to use photography with writing. Originally published at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies between 1995-1999, before moving to Massachusetts, continuing to publish to 2003. I still have issues 8 – 30 from between 1997-2003, including a special edition on September 11, 2001. DoubleTake is a publication I will always treasure. From time to time, I will share some of its content.


“It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”

― William Carlos Williams

Mouth Harp blog


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