Weegee and Poetry… "There should be suthin deep between us…"

Weegee, [Dylan Thomas], ca. 1944-1946 (from Weegee’s NY book)

Weegee’s People, New York: Essential Books, 1946)

(“Greenwich Village Poets, who like to eat, display their poems for sale at an open air poetry exhibit… but there were few buyers.” from “The Sidewalk” chapter of Weegee’s People, 1946… One of the Two Poems by Joe Gould reads:

My love for you is uv the cleanus,
Holy and sweet is my emotion. There should be suthin deep
between us,
And I suggest the Atlantic Ocean.

Weegee, [Ted Joans and the Poetry Circle]. ca. 1960 (from Weegee, The Village, New York:, Da Capo, 1989, book)

Weegee, Ted Joans, ca. 1960
(from Weegee, The Village, New York:, Da Capo, 1989, book)

Inspired in part by National Poetry Month, wee wanted to examine Weegee’s photos of poets and poetry… Weegee handily captures the essence of the bard, Dylan Thomas (1914 – 1953), at the bar… (wonder if that photo was made in 1953?)… (Thomas can be heard here at Poetry and the Film symposium, along with: Amos Vogel, Maya Deren, Parker Tyler, Willard Maas & Dylan Thomas, Sessions 1 & 2, at Cinema 16, from 10/28/1953)… of course Vogel worked with Weegee on Weegee’s film, Wegee’s New York 1948… (Weegee and film will be the subject of future posts, nevertheless, on June 23, 1948, Cinema 16 presented a program of short films including Maya Deren’s Ritual in Transfigured Time and Weegee’s New York…) … Weegee made many photos of Maxwell Bodenheim (1892-1954) and a few great photos of Joe Gould (1889-1957), and made some distortions of Professor Seagull, (wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall; hearing the conversations between Gould and Fellig), and several photos of the Raven Poetry Circle… almost 15 years later Weegee also made a number of photos of Ted Joans (1928-2003) and other Village poets (and bohemians and other creative types) in the late 1950s early 60s…

PM Daily, July 28, 1941, p.19 (photos by the great Ray Platnik)
A poem by and portrait of Joe Gould is prominent in this amazing page of real, honest-to-Greenwich Village poets, at the Village Arts Center (1 Charles St.); (Maxwell Bodenheim refused to pose at first). Gould “has been working these 20 years on the Oral History of today. It contains only material Mr. Gould has seen, or heard by word of mouth. Verses on the club wall behind him are his own. He is a satiric poet and a book reviewer.”

PM Daily, July 28, 1941, pp.18-19
Of course 1941 was Weegee’s most productive year, and in the summer of 1941, Weegee was on fire… And in what must be one of the greatest newspaper spreads in newspaper history, on page 18, six photos of a fire-tragedy on the Lower East Side, and on page 19, five real Village poets…

“There’s Some Life in The Old Village Yet”… Joe Gould’s 54th birthday…

Don Freeman, PM Daily, 1946
Joseph Mitchell’s profile of Joe Gould, “Professor Sea Gull,” was published in The New Yorker on Dec. 12, 1942… Apparently Gould’s “Oral History of Civilization” was more-or-less a fraud… Nevertheless, in the archives of NYU are “11 dime-store composition books that make up a nearly 150,000-word diary” by Gould. The diaries, The Voice reported, offer a daily account of Gould’s life from 1943 to 1947. (NYTimes CityRoom, 08/17/2007, by SewellChan).
Weegee photographed Joe Gould; Joseph Mitchell profiled Joe Gould; Joseph Mitchell attempted to profile Weegee, Weegee writes that he photographed Joseph Mitchell (out-profiled the profiler) and… around the same time (ca. 1945)…
The website of the great Don Freeman is here.

To Be Continued!

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