top of page

a collaboration between photographer Jack Shear and poet Forrest Gander

From The Conversation

Minotaur:       So I ask again. Why can’t you follow my directive?


Prisoner:         It’s as though my mourning is all edged with some other day’s light

                       and what I think of as my presence goes blank when it wakes.


Minotaur:       My gesture embarrasses you, doesn’t it? You’re afraid it could bring you

                       back to life?


Prisoner:         I’m worried that each interpretation leads me back to its shadings, into

                       another night.


Minotaur:       Here, within my cloak, there is only dreaming. And what you’re afraid

                       you deserve remains hidden.


Prisoner:         Inside my own dark, a deeper darkness connives with the light.


Minotaur:       Because looking is immediate, it demands patience. But if you had that,

                       you would have escaped me and I’d have sputtered out like a wick.


Prisoner:         The curse of my face, which you love. My likeness, you keep saying, to

                       no one else.

The photographer Jack Shear and poet Forrest Gander have been working on a collaboration for three years. The images come from a series of Shear’s photographs focused on the male body— sometimes only suggested beneath a black cloth, sometimes partly revealed. The poems vary in form and tone, just as the photographs do. There is a strangeness and mystery to each of them. We expect to have a book out later this year. 




Jack Shear (b. 1953), is a photographer and art collector  who lives and works in New York City and Spencertown, NY whose passion for photography, as an artist and a collector, dates back to his teenage years in Los Angeles. Shear’s work emphasizes portraiture and nudes and is represented in the permanent collections of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art.  Exhibitions include solo shows at Yale University School of Art, and Le Musée Territorial de St Barthelme. He has published two books: Four Marines and Other Portraits, and Short Season.




Forrest Gander, born in the Mojave Desert, lives in California. A translator and multiple-genre writer with degrees in geology and literature, he’s the recipient of numerous awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize, The Best Translated Book Award, and fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Guggenheim, and United States Artists Foundation.

bottom of page