Test Cover Image of:  Disposable Camera

Disposable Camera

Series: Phoenix Poets

Although Disposable Camera is Janet Foxman’s first book-length collection, one would not know it given the wry sophistication of the poems found within. The notion of the disposable camera permeates the entire book, where Foxman considers the instabilities in even our deepest attachments. Here gulfs expand, for instance, between twins, between the musician and his instrument, between the recluse and his inconsolable solitude. Whether a hermit; a twin; a filmgoer utterly taken with Triumph of the Will; or Masaccio, just after he’s painted the Expulsion—the poems’ speakers share a nagging anxiety that satisfaction may not exist outside the effort to imagine it, and that efforts at art and making, however compulsory to their executor, are probably regrettable from the start. A formally inventive and daring book, and one that displays a sophistication well beyond the poet’s years, Disposable Camera will be a valuable addition to American poetry.

Author Information

Janet Foxman is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a senior production editor at a publishing house.


“Janet Foxman’s Disposable Camera is a brilliant book of great freshness and great originality. It is an exhilarating book, one that keeps the reader off balance about its ambitions and procedures.”
— Frank Bidart

“The poems in Disposable Camera are about the interrelationships among the arts, often music, and memory, and twinship. Artists who use disposable cameras set themselves against an ever-increasing concern for scientific precision, working instead on the go, trusting a complex intuition based on technical skills that are nearly transparent. In the title poem, Janet Foxman “[confines] the paradise / where my sister lives” in a disposable camera, a variety of images she keeps undeveloped, an astonishing intellectual gesture at the heart of an elegiac book.”
— Kenneth Fields

“The flashes from Janet Foxman’s Disposable Camera illuminate verbal events in which the drive to make it new collides with the need to make it clear. All cameras are finally disposable; Foxman’s has yielded images that are not.”
— Stephen Yenser

“In Disposable Camera, Foxman offers her memories to the reader as a shared collective—as objects and experiences that evoke the breathless impact of their own recollection. Her hyper-detailed narratives—each presented in an airy, dreamlike voice, with unmistakable underlying unity—are objectively beautiful and soothing to read. Each poem also allows for the reader to retrieve her own, highly personal, collection of memories. Like digging through a time capsule you buried in your backyard, or an afternoon spent flipping through old scrapbooks, there is no telling what memories Foxman’s selection of poetry will unearth.”
— Chicago Maroon

Disposable Camera is a perfect summation title for poetry—each poem a snapshot made permanent—a moment in time or thought. But more, these are intricate thoughts that go through the body and turn onto the page as wry, crisp, original incarnations.”
— Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books

Audience: General/trade;