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.