By Louis Dienes
“Louis Dienes (1925-2016) is one of the important poets and also one of the important photographers of America….His poem “Black & White,” the basis of this book, is one of the real, musically stirring poems of the last century. And the way Dienes’s photographs are combined with that passionate free verse poem makes Black & White: A Poem with Photographs truly and mightily remarkable.
In the preface Louis Dienes describes how his study of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism with its founder, the great American educator and poet Eli Siegel, changed his life, because it changed his way of seeing the world….The poem “Black & White” was written on the occasion of a 1957 group exhibition at the Terrain Gallery in New York City, at which many of the photographs in this book were first shown. It begins:
The day black and white got a break
Was the day he and she and they
Thought of those things black and white could convey,
That is, those things could be turned into black and white
And be clear to minds.
Poetry and photography have been related before; but the sincerity, knowledge, and depth of emotion in this book stand out, with each art adding to our feeling and thought about the other…” —from the Journal of the Print World review