Rhymes from the Cumberland
- Smith, Effie Waller

Poets Featured with External Resources

Other Works in the Collection by the Photographer(s)

Related Books by Photographic Process

Poems of the Dance (Relief halftones)

With Wordsworth in England (Relief halftones)

Songs from The Garden of Kama (Relief halftones)


That it would appear Rhymes from the Cumberland (1909) was first published in its photographic edition marks an important moment in the history of photopoetry. While many other works – for example, Walter Scott’s long poems and some of the poems in photographically illustrated editions of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s verse – had been published previously in non-photographic editions, Rhymes from the Cumberland is one of the first original photopoetic volumes, at least in the US. Although the six small, square format halftones are not on the scale of the 450 or so images found across the six Dunbar books, their inclusion is nevertheless significant, highlighting the increasing use of photography to complement the poetic image.

Smith’s small volume was her second of 1909, published prior to Rosemary and Pansies, and is the better of the two books, reflecting on the Cumberland Mountains in Kentucky and Virginia and using these landscapes for meditations on romance and religion. Each photograph is accompanied by the title of a poem and a brief caption, emphasising the descriptive, illustrative purpose of the images. For example, the poem ‘Elkhorn City’ is accompanied by a photograph of the town, taken from the mountainside, and captioned:

O, Elkhorn City, little town!
On which the Cumberlands look down
Fond and protectingly.

Book Details

Author: Smith, Effie Waller
Title: Rhymes from the Cumberland
Publication Year: 1909
Poets Featured: Smith, Effie Waller
Subjects: African American women, African Americans, Cumberland Mountains
Photographic process: Relief halftones

This book can be found in the University of St Andrews Library catalogue HERE

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