Singer Tom Waits is to make his publishing debut next year with a book that combines his poetry with images of the homeless, according to the Guardian newspaper.
Hard Ground is described as a portrait of homelessness, combining Waits's words with images of people who "live on the hard ground."
This is the publishing debut for Waits, the eccentric troubadour who, after 40 years, dozens of film appearances and about 20 albums, has noticeably avoided committing himself to print. He remarked in a 1975 interview that poetry is "a very dangerous word."
"I don't like the stigma that comes with being called a poet," he said. "So I call what I'm doing an improvisational adventure or an inebriational travelogue."
Hard Ground is modelled on the 1941 classic, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which combined James Agee's poetry and Walker Evans's photographs of Depression-era farmers.
Although this is Waits's first collaboration with O'Brien, the photographer has frequently taken pictures of the singer. He also shot the cover of Waits's recent album, Glitter and Doom Live.
Hard Ground is to be published by University of Texas in March 2011.