Derek Adams

Derek Adams is a professional photographer, originally from London, he now lives in Suffolk. He has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths and his poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK and abroad, including Rialto, Magma, Smiths Knoll and London Grip. His latest collection is EXPOSURE: Snapshots from the life of Lee Miller, (Dempsey & Windle 2019), other publications includes a collection Everyday Objects, Chance Remarks (Littoral, 2005) and pamphlets Postcards to Olympus and unconcerned but not indifferent: the life of Man Ray. He was BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year in 2006. You can find out more at

Portrait of Space
(Egypt, 1937)

The purdah of bourgeois attitudes,
Cairo closes in like the mosquito
net around my bed.

The only respite from the Black Satin
and Pearls Set is to roam wadis
and oases for days, take my Rollei

where the blown desert sands
sculpt Tanguyesque landscapes
from the white rocks.

Driving across the unremitting
dry waves of the barren silica sea
to Siwa, a green island of olive and palm.

In my viewfinder, a door,
its ripped screen an open mouth
about to scream.

I focus on this rent, the distant dunes
and beyond. Click the shutter.
Know to move on.

Copyright © 2019 Derek Adams
‘Exposure: Snapshots from the life of Lee Miller’, 
first published in Ragged Lion.

A l’heure de l’observatoire, les Amoureux  1932-34

He woke, the red circle still impressed
on his temple, put the gun away,
took out a brush
and for an hour
and at the same hour, every day
for two years Man Ray painted
over and
over again
the memory of Lee’s lips;
layers of paint
like aragonite
coating a piece of grit,
until at last
when he looked on the lovers,
he could see
it was finished.

Copyright © 2018 Derek Adams
‘unconcerned but not indifferent: the life of Man Ray’,  first published in Magma.






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