20 June 2005

naked poets

in a recent entry Charles Jensen wrote "I have been photographed naked."

my first nudes were polaroids taken in another century. I retain a b&w one of me when I was a grad student but have only a memory of a color one of me on a raft in the middle of Coburn Britton's pond. my best known studies were those taken by Bryan Ockert.

there is a long & noble tradition of poets baring all. among the photographs of Eakins are nude studies from the 1880s purporting to be of Whitman. they certainly look like Walt & if so wd make him a forerunner yet again.

I seem to recall numerous nude portraits of Ginsberg -- both alone & with Peter Orlovsky. altho I haven't seen photos of Frank O'Hara naked there are famous paintings of him au naturel by Larry Rivers (1954) & Wynn Chamberlain (1963). either Alice Neel or Sylvia Sleigh (or both?) paintd John Perreault naked some 30 years ago.

in 1971 William Como publishd a full-page nude of Gerard Malanga in After Dark. & in 1976 Gay Sunshine ran an interview with one of the great couples of American letters -- Jonathan Williams & Tom Meyer -- which featurd fetching photos of them by Guy Mendes & Nicholas Dean. (this was the same year in which Jonathan photographd Tom & I skinnydipping together.)

I suspect Gavin Dillard holds the record for the most nude studies. of course he achievd fame by giving readings without his clothes on which gave him the name "The Naked Poet" (which he eventually used as the title of his collectd works).

then there are those underground classics. the naughty one of Edward Field. & a series of Andrew Lundwall.

probably my favorite male nude poet study is the Joel Singer portrait of James Broughton which adorns "Song of the Godbody" (1978). James looks downright beatific with his arms outstretchd.

at one point I plannd a chapbook to be calld "Naked Poets." I was going to write a poem for every male poet I knew who'd posed sans trousers & in the style of that poet. after a single poem I gave up the idea.


Tom Beckett said...

I like yr chapbook idea. Wish you had done it. Perhaps you still could.

And, Mr. Gildzen, I must say you looked pretty darn good in yr shoot.

A hoo-ahh! seems called for.

Charles said...

I was photographed naked by my boyfriend, who is a talented photographer, and I'll tell you—I've never felt so nervous about being naked. I was a wreck. I felt completely fenced into my body. I never have a problem being naked around him, but the minute the lens cap was off the camera...he was like a stranger.

Naked Blogger said...

Hi from a naked poet across the pond...

I know it's an old post but I just wanted to say I also liked the chapbook idea.

Where can one see those photos of male naked poets?