8 x 10, 154 pages; 58 photographs, 51 poems
Purple linen hardcover/gold stamped title
£25.00 (+ £5 postage) UK and EU only
International customers please email to arrange purchase
This collection of poetry and photographs is a meditation on life – introspective, visceral and thought provoking. A unique alchemy emerges from the energy in James Floyd’s writing combined with Mark McEvoy’s photographs from around the world - two artists merging their creativity and life experience to revealing effect, creating a self-reflective and curious look at life and the worlds we inhabit.
A range of emotions and experiences are touched upon – social commentary, humour, still and quiet moments are juxtaposed with bold statements. The coupled vignettes are powerful in their depth and honesty: life, death, love, hope, faith, youth, vulnerability, addiction, poverty, consumerism, ecology, family, truth and dreams are some of the themes explored. The book of photographs, poems, haikus and prose is encased with a purple hard-back linen cover and a gold-stamped title.
James Floyd, a poet from Nashville, TN, brings the wisdom of his life experience to the photographs with sensibility and depth:
“This, "Once upon a time," began for me August 15th, 1946, in Nashville, Tennessee… the experience of growing up being of Moorish descent in the South in the 1960's, being a US paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne; an alcoholic and drug addict; a bank robber; an inmate of jails, state prisons federal prisons and workhouses; a member of the advisory board of a maximum security prison I was once incarcerated in; being a High School dropout; a college adjunct professor; a trade published author.... There is too much magic to tell all here.”
His writing is accessible and direct - a redemptive process imbued with a spiritual awareness gained from his unique understanding of the world. The photographs, specifically chosen by Floyd, are responded to individually - sometimes minimally with few words and at other times with a more traditional poetic structure.
“The first time Mark shared some of his photographs with me they inspired poems that I put to them. That’s how this book came to be. The idea for the book wasn’t immediate, but as we got deeper into this project, exploring hundreds of possibilities, it felt like we were of one mind, or at least two minds on the same wavelength: one mind capturing instances in time visually; one mind addressing the timelessness of those instances, verbally.”
Mark McEvoy’s photographs are collated from an archive going back 35 years. Unlike Floyd, who’s creative output is solely Nashville based, his photographs have been taken around the world in places as diverse as India, UK, Morocco, Portugal, New Zealand, Mali, Tonga, Singapore, Philippines and Greece.
“ I sent James small prints, or emailed him photos, and weeks or months later he would post the images back to me, enriched by his words. The project continued in its own rhythm jamming back and forth like Jazz musicians improvising on a theme. This book is the result of a free flowing creative exchange, where our life experiences and thoughts have entwined and aligned.”
James C. Floyd is a poet born and raised in Nashville Tennessee. He grew up in the tightly knit, thriving community surrounding Jefferson Street, where Fisk University, Tennessee A&I State University and Meharry Medical College provided the black neighbourhood with the highest level of education. In 1963, Floyd left high school to join the army, leaving with an honorable discharge in 1968. He returned home when the US political landscape was shifting drastically with the Civil Rights movement, the assassination of Martin Luther King and the passing of the fair housing act. Floyd eventually slipped into a world of crime and drugs. In 1972, he was arrested for bank robbery and spent the next 4 years in Tennessee State prison where eventually he turned his life around and rehabilitated himself through creative writing. In prison he completed two years of college, receiving a certificate in Braille and formed a prison writer’s group. After a further year in Atlanta Federal Prison he was released on parole in 1977. Since then he has continued to pursue his writing and works for disenfranchised youth and drug addicts as a mentor and life counselor.
Mark McEvoy is an artist, filmmaker and photographer. Throughout the 1990's he worked as a freelance photographer, travelling extensively throughout India and the Far East as well as working closer to home. As a documentary photographer, he produced photo essays for various newspapers and magazines including The Independent Saturday and Sunday magazine supplements. In 2001 he completed an MA in Design for Interactive Media at Middlesex University. Since then he has been exploring multimedia through digital-photo narrative, video, sound, music and experimenting with traditional and digital processes. In 2019 and 2012 he was selected for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize and exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery. He has been a lecturer on the BA photography course at Middlesex University, London from 2010-2021 and regularly freelances as an art facilitator for educational organizations and charities working with vulnerable youths. He is currently working on a documentary film "The Jefferson Street Poet" about James Floyd, a poet based in Nashville TN, who after a dark episode in his life that led him to a 5 year period of incarceration, rehabilitated himself through his writing and creativity. The book Random Impulses is a collaborative project that came together naturally to help raise awareness and funding for the film.