Alec Soth's Archived Blog

November 26, 2006

La Platte Cañon

Filed under: photographs (not mine),poetry — alecsothblog @ 6:33 pm

Just returned from a computer-free Thanksgiving in the Rocky Mountains (hence the Friday Poem on Sunday). I didn’t stay in La Platte Cañon, but both W.H. Jackson and Walt Whitman have nice impressions of the place. Whitman was there in 1892. No sure about Jackson – probably in the 1880’s. But it is nice to imagine them bumping into each other.

La Platte Cañon by W. H. Jackson
(note Jackson’s wagon and dark tent in view)
you can buy the stereocard for $650 here

Spirit that Form’d this Scene
by Walt Whitman (written in Platte Cañon, Colorado)

Spirit that form’d this scene,
These tumbled rock-piles grim and red,
These reckless heaven-ambitious peaks,
These gorges, turbulent-clear streams, this naked freshness,

These formless wild arrays, for reasons of their own,
I know thee, savage spirit–we have communed together,
Mine too such wild arrays, for reasons of their own;
Was’t charged against my chants they had forgotten art?
To fuse within themselves its rules precise and delicatesse?
The lyrist’s measur’d beat, the wrought-out temple’s
grace–column and polish’d arch forgot?
But thou that revelest here–spirit that form’d this scene,
They have remember’d thee.



  1. welcome back alec. it’s been cold on the blog front without you.

    where in the rockies were you?

    Comment by ben — November 26, 2006 @ 10:28 pm

  2. Thanks Ben. I was at my brother’s cabin in the appropriately named town of Rustic, CO.

    Comment by Alec Soth — November 26, 2006 @ 10:38 pm

  3. Rustic! i lived in Fort Collins for several years, and spent a lot of time up the Pouder Canyon. i bet it was beautiful. would love to see some photos if you were able to make any.

    Comment by ben — November 26, 2006 @ 11:17 pm

  4. Most of my pictures feature kids in pajamas. I’m not sure I’d be a good mountain photographer. Too intimidating. I prefer hills.

    Comment by Alec Soth — November 27, 2006 @ 12:42 am

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