Daughter and noted poet combine her photography and his short verse.
This book contains forty examples of Laura Matthias Bendoly’s recent photographs, along with an introduction explaining the history of her engagement with the art and some elucidating notes adjacent to the photographs themselves. As the book was in progress, she asked her father, the poet John Matthias, if he would like to contribute a few short poems to enter into dialogue with her images. This he has done, producing some work quite untypical of poetry in his recent books, but compatible with the photographs he has chosen to write for. (“For,” rather than necessarily “about.”)
This collaboration between father and daughter invokes an even closer and necessarily more complex set of engagements over time without naming them or trying to give them shape or contour. Two lives are implicitly at work here, whose magical endurance is inherently consoling and redemptive. —Michael Anania
Photography. Art. Poetry.
John Matthias has been publishing poetry, criticism, memoirs, plays, and translations since the appearance of his first book in 1970. He taught Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame for nearly fifty years and has been Visiting Fellow in Poetry at Clare Hall, Cambridge. Among his recent books, LIVING WITH A VISIONARY (Dos Madres Press, 2021) takes its title from his New Yorker memoir about his wife Diana's struggle with Parkinson's disease that was widely read in 2021, while SOME WORDS ON THOSE WARS (Dos Madres Press, 2021) provides the social, military, and political context for "Kedging," a long poem about her distinguished British family. That poem, in turn, leads directly to "The Scent of Smoke," the first selection in the present book.
Laura Matthias Bendoly is a photographer and author of novel-length fiction. Her three titles include The Estate (2015), Laerka (2017), and The Peddler of Wisdom (2018). She is best known for landscape and environmental photography shot in the Midwest, where she lives, as well as in the desert Southwest. Her photography is self-taught, though she earned an MFA from Western Michigan University in creative writing as well as an MA in art history from Indiana University. Laura lives in Ohio with her family, and her cat, though she has lived variously in Indiana, Chicago, Michigan, France, the UK, and the Czech Republic.