The New Writer Reviews Exposure

By The New Writer, December 2012

Exposure from Jonathan Steffen combines poems and photographs in a slick, well-designed, landscape hardback.

Written over a period of 30 years, the poems dwell on love and the loss of love:

Weave No Thoughts Round Me
“Weave no thoughts round me whilst I am away.
They will not bring me back”

Hopeless Love
“How shall I hold you, gone from me so soon?
I shall hold you to me as the cloud holds the moon”

These lyrical, visceral poems offer glimpses into Steffen’s world, each one illustrated by a contemporary photographer, and each page has its own colour and mood.

On a bright orange page he says, “I don’t think that there is a colour for grief” – The Colour of Grief – supported by a photograph of a single swan, its head tucked in its feathers. Later in Colouring by Numbers, in an obsessional tone, he speaks of the colour of his lover’s eyes and hair, right down to the minutiae of the colour of – “the hairs on your forearms –
The mystically indescribable colouring of the hairs
On your inexpressibly beautiful forearms.”

The reader feels a little voyeuristic at times, and tangled up in the narrator’s infatuation, whilst being offered rich and sometimes harsh photos.

There is a mix of the modern and the traditional: the poems have a feeling of a different era, but the accompanying images are all by contemporary photographers. It’s a colourful and well-produced coffee-table book with a twist.


Thank you to Guest Editor, Abegail Morley at The New Writer Magazine

Find more @

She is on Twitter @abegailmorley

The image of the swan was taken by Grant Auton for the poem The Colour of Grief and is part of the collection in Exposure.
Find more @ Grant Auton Photography

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