“Shades of Love”–a beautiful book

Yeros, Dimitris, (photographer), Edward Albee (foreword), John Wood (introduction) and David Conolly (translations. “Shades of Love: Photographs Inspired by the Poems of C.P. Cavafy”. Insight Edition, 2011.

A Beautiful Book

Amos Lassen

C.P. Cavafy is a very special poet and he was one of the first openly gay writers long before we even knew the term coming out. His poems represent the height of man/man love and now Yeros Dimitris has added gorgeous sensual photographs to some of the poet’s works. The photos are basically homoerotic just as are the poems. The result is a book of beauty and a volume every man will be proud to own.

Cavafy wrote about the emotions that engulf man and the photos represent this perfectly. Just as Cavafy is difficult to translate, I imagine choosing photographs for the poems was also difficult. We are all aware of the problems with translating poetry and a translation never quite catches the nuances of the words the poet uses in his own language and I am very familiar with this as a colleague and I have been working on translating some of the poems of Chain Bachman Bialy, the once poet laureate of Israel.

The entire book does not succeed but when it does it is glorious. We clearly feel Cavafy’s rejection of the heterosexual life and his love and sexuality for the human male. I, personally, love the book but I can see where other people might find faults. That’s what taste is all about.

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