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Emblems of the Passing World: Poems after Photographs by August Sander

Emblems of the Passing World: Poems after Photographs by August Sander

By Adam Kirsch

“[An] elegant little book…Kirsch looks deeply into Sander’s haunting portraits of everyday German people, often unidentified, at the time of World War I and during the Weimar Republic. Writing with hindsight on what the future will bring to his figures, Kirsch also considers the blindness of our own present moment.”—The New Criterion

“Sander’s images serve as a strangely engaging roadmap to the possibilities that exist within any moment, and the voices that echo through Kirsch’s singular language serve to remind us of our own splendidly imperfect humanity.”—The Los Angeles Review of Books

“Adam Kirsch has produced in these balanced, unflinching poems a unity of artistic perspective of great value in our troubled times.”—New York Journal of Books

August Sander’s photographic portraits of ordinary people in Weimar Germany inspire this uncanny new collection of poems by one of America’s most celebrated writers and critics.

Through his portraits of ordinary people—soldiers, housewives, children, peasants, and city dwellers—August Sander, the German photographer whose work chronicled the extreme tensions and transitions of the twentieth century, captured a moment in history whose consequences he himself couldn’t have predicted. Using these photographs as a lens, Adam Kirsch’s poems connect the legacy of the First World War with the turmoil of the Weimar Republic with moving immediacy and meditative insight, and foreshadow the Nazi era. Kirsch writes both urgently and poignantly about these photographs, creating a unique dialogue of word and image that will speak to all readers interested in history, past and present.

144 pages
Other Press, 2015
5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
ISBN 9781590517345
Poetry, Photography, Portraits 

$24.95 $24.95