In 1963, Allen Ginsberg traveled to Cambodia and visited the ancient Khmer temples. He wrote "Angkor Wat," an eponymous poem about the temple complex. It was a very different time: pre-Vietnam War, pre-Khmer Rouge, and before the bustling tourism trade that is now the lifeblood of Siem Reap. Yet the Angkor Wat temples themselves remain a unique source of inspiration for poets and photographers who travel there from all over the world.
Over half a century later, Angkor Wat by luke kurtis is both the artist's homage to Ginsberg's text as well a celebration of his own pilgrimages to the ancient city. Published in 1968, Ginsberg's Angkor Wat book was a single long poem accompanied by photographs by Alexandra Lawrence. kurtis's book is a suite of poems paired with his original photography. Chronicling the poet's own travels where he explored mythical stories and experienced mystical visions, kurtis's poems take you on a tour of Angkor Wat (and beyond) unlike any other and tell the story of one American poet deepening his Buddhist spirituality.
"kurtis has peered through the crowds of tourists and found a window on to the meditative spirit and beauty of Angkor--no small feat these days. His pictures and words evoke a place of peace and wonder and capture the complexity of elements that preserve the magnificence of a once-great empire." --John McDermott, author of Elegy: Reflections on Angkor
"In verse and photographs, luke kurtis gives a poignant salute to the wonders of Angkor." --John Burgess, author of A Woman of Angkor