Eyes with Winged Thoughts: Poems and Photographsby Gordon Parks
He has done it all. Gordon Parks's life is an astonishing litany of firsts: in the 1940s he/i>
In Eyes with Winged Thoughts, the forty-four photographs and fifty-eight poems, reflecting on his long and extraordinary life, offer a rare glimpse of his thoughts and feelings about everything from romantic love to the Iraq war and the passing of Pope John Paul II.
He has done it all. Gordon Parks's life is an astonishing litany of firsts: in the 1940s he was the first African-American photographer to work for the Farm Security Administration and for Vogue and Life magazines; in the 1960s he would become the first African-American director of a major motion picture. A dominating figure in contemporary American culture, he is an artist of uncompromising vision and creativity.
In 2002 Parks received the Jackie Robinson Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame, just the latest in a series of honors that began when he received a prestigious Julius Rosenwald Fellowship in 1941 and which now includes an Emmy, a National Medal of the Arts, and over fifty honorary doctorates. Now in his nineties, he could easily rest on his laurels, but the luminous photographs on display in Eyes with Winged Thoughts and the poems -- some meditative and lyrical, some raw with emotion about the war in Iraq and the tragedy of the tsunami -- show that he is still a true American Renaissance man.
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Eyes with Winged ThoughtsPoems and Photographs
By Gordon Parks
AtriaCopyright © 2005 Gordon Parks
All right reserved.
Come Sing With Me!
Come Sing With Me!
Despite the turmoil, anguish and despair
disrupting the planet we inherited,
there is something good I choose to sing about.
That something lies within us, patiently waiting --
beneath us, above us and around us.
Its peaceful message yearns to fill
our places of murderous anger and hatred,
to flourish forever.
Hope is the song I have chosen to sing --
a deathless song, flowing steadily beside my faith.
Whenever the fist of doubt knocks at my door,
it is powerfully turned away by my hopeful singing.
When things go from bad to worse I still sing my song.
It helps me endure the bloodthirsty days.
Once earth's fire had devoured my hopes.
As my twisted soul slid toward Hell,
Fate came racing from another direction.
Pinned to it was a belt of sun with new instructions.
These, it said, are for you! Suddenly Fear was gone.
I made peace with the mean roads I'd walked.
My jackals could now lie down in truce.
From that day on, I began singing the song called Hope.
I still sing it loud --
above the waves, fire, darkness and mud.
Copyright 2005 by Gordon Parks
Excerpted from Eyes with Winged Thoughts by Gordon Parks Copyright © 2005 by Gordon Parks. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Gordon Parks's retrospective book of art photography, Half Past Autumn, published in 1997, coincided with an exhibition organized by the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., which traveled in the United States from that year until 2003, and an HBO documentary that aired on November 30, 2000. He has authored numerous books of art, fiction, memoir (including A Star for Noon), photographs, and a CD of his music (2000). He published The Learning Tree, a novel, in 1963, and three previous autobiographies, A Choice of Weapons, To Smile in Autumn, and Voices in the Mirror. He died in March 2006 at his home in Manhattan. He was 93.
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