Nordstjernan readers already know Niclas Goldberg in his capacity as a film critic, but Goldberg also writes poetry—now showcased at the Swedish Church in New York City in an exhibit with work by New York-based photographer Michael Skoglund.
The title of the showcase is “Walked on spot” and is at heart a loving tribute to New York City. Seeing texts combined with photos like this—both the poems and the photos are displayed on the walls—might be a bit novel, but it isn’t the first time Goldberg and Skoglund work together in this manner.
“Niclas said ‘let’s have an exhibition’ and he sent me some of his new poems,” Skoglund said at the opening. “I read them and they were mostly about New York it seemed, so I took a look at what I had.”
Skoglund’s photographs feature a raw, less polished and more exciting side of the Big Apple—definitely not the touristy kind. One stunning photo shows the city rising under a bright, orange-colored sky, another shows one of the distinctive rooftop water towers, as seen through reddish window blinds. The colors are bright, but through them you sense the slightly filthy charm that is the trademark of the lower parts of Manhattan.
“Niclas’ texts have helped me think of my photos and look at them a bit differently.”

Working independently of each other
Goldberg says the works were done separately and independently of each other, that he and Skoglund went with a “gut feeling” when choosing which poem should go with which photograph.
“We felt it was best not to discuss or analyze it too much,” he says. “We picked photos and poems randomly, and it was easy to do so. We know each other well.”
Goldberg went on to say there’s something “unfinished” in his poems that seems to correlate with Skoglund’s photos.
“Ultimately it’s the person who reads the poems who will relate to the picture,” he said. “But the poem about Crosby Street for instance, isn’t illustrated by a photo of that street.”
Goldberg’s poems are short and reminiscent of word association. It’s as if they fall into the rhythm of somebody walking the streets, taking in the surroundings. Like here, in the first stanza of “Trippy Step on Crosby Street”:
“I’ll do anything
to walk down Crosby Street.
Grey stones. Chewing gum.
I’ll be waiting for this chilly night in December.”
The exhibition “Walked on spot” can be seen at the Swedish Church until October 29; there’s also a book with the photos and poems for sale. At the opening there was also some beautiful piano music, courtesy of newly installed cantor David Johansson.
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