Sarton’s Poems, My Photographs

From May Sarton’s Well
 is collaboration between the writer, May Sarton, and me, Edith Royce Schade, the photographer and editor. I hope some of you who visit this website and are—or will become—familiar with the book might be interested in finding out why I selected one of my photographs, or created a new one to accompany a particular poem or prose excerpt by May Sarton. So, this is the first of what I plan to be a series of blogs about the process.

This is the only photograph I placed on a page that faces a poem in the whole book. No other poem is paired with a photograph. Why?   I did not want it to seem as if I was trying to illustrate her poems. So, with this exception, only prose quotations face, or are on the same page as a photograph. I felt that this photograph of sun reflected in the calm sea in no way illustrates the light she talks about in “For Monet”. I felt the image and the poem should begin the chapter on “Light”.

I explain my intent in the book’s preface, “I think of my photographs as an accompaniment to May’s prose and poetry, as a piano is to a lyric singer—sometimes in unison, often in harmony, occasionally in counterpoint. Generally I have paired my photographs with May’s prose, separating the images from the poems so that the poetry may stand on its own as a point of departure for the reader’s musings.”