featuresPoetry For Art
Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Within The Open Landscapes: Words for the Etchings of Jane Joseph

POETRY FOR ART – Editorial Advisor, Bill Berkson, presents newly published poetry, or poetry posted to the web for the first time, that relates to visual art. It can be poetry that responds, like criticism, to work on view at the time of posting. Or, as is the case here, it can represent a collaboration between artist and poet.

This presentation of eight poems written by Michael Heller for etchings of Jane Joseph dating from 1986-2002 are taken from his 2010 collection, Beckmann Variations & Other Poems.

Jane Joseph, Plot, 1986. Etching, 14.5 x 20.3 cm. Courtesy of the Artist
Jane Joseph, Plot, 1986. Etching, 14.5 x 20.3 cm. Courtesy of the Artist

Please click image to access the presentation.

Jane Joseph, who was born in Surrey, England,  trained as a painter at Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts 1961-65 and gained the Leverhulme Award for travel in Europe for the year 1965-66. In 1970 she set up a studio near Crickhowell in Breconshire where she worked part-time. Since 1980 she has lived and worked in West London, occupied with the urban landscape. It is this subject which propels her work. In 1989 she had the opportunity to work in the Graphic Workshop of Pécs, Hungary. Abbey Awards allowed study and travel in Italy in 1991 and again in 1995.

In 1999 The Folio Society commissioned her to make etchings to accompany “If This is a Man” by Primo Levi followed by “The Truce” in 2001. These prints contribute to a substantial body of work in small black and white etchings and large charcoal drawings. Subsequent publications include “A Little Flora of Common Plants” and “Seeds & Fruits”, both with text by Mel Gooding and “Kinderszenen” with poem by Anthony Rudolf. She has exhibited regularly since 1973. Public solo exhibitions include Worcester City Art Gallery in 2001, The Victoria Art Gallery, Bath in 2002 and The School of Art Gallery, Aberystwyth in 2004. Recent sets of prints have been shown at the Eagle Gallery, London. Collections include The National Art Library (V & A Museum), The British Library, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge  and Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut. Jane Joseph taught at Wimbledon School of Art for many years and is currently teaching at Morley College, London.

Michael Heller has published twenty volumes of poetry, essays and memoir. His most recent books are Eschaton (2009), a book of poems, and Beckmann Variations & Other Poems, a work in prose and poetry (2010). His collection of essays on George Oppen, Speaking the Estranged, was published in 2008. Uncertain Poetries: Selected Essays on Poets, Poetry and Poetics,appeared in 2006. Exigent Futures: New and Selected Poems appeared in 2003. His memoir, Living Root, was published by the State University of New York Press in the Fall of 2000. Two Novellas: Marble Snows & The Study, a collection of fiction, was published in 2009. His libretto for the opera, “Constellations of Waking,” based on the life of the German-Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin, has been set to music by the composer Ellen Fishman Johnson and performed at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. His poetry and criticism have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including The Paris Review, Conjunctions, Harpers, New Letters, The Nation, American Poetry Review, Jewish American Poetry, Pequod, The New York Times Book Review, Parnassus: Poetry in Review and many others. His critical study, Conviction’s Net of Branches: Essays on the Objectivist Poets and Poetry, was published by Southern Illinois University Press. His many awards and honors include prizes from The New School for Social Research, Poetry in Public Places, the New York State CAPS Fellowship in Poetry, the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Prize of the Poetry Society of America, a New York Foundation on the Arts Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fund for Poetry. He has given many poetry readings in America and Europe at such places as Yale, CUNY, SUNY Purchase and Buffalo, Temple, Rensselaer, NYU and the University of Wyoming, the Sorbonne, Cambridge, Warwick and Durham Universities. For many years, he was on the faculty of New York University and has taught at The Naropa University, The New School, San Francisco State, Notre Dame and other universities. His papers are collected in the Stanford University Libraries at: http:/ / searchworks.stanford.edu/ view/ 8550579.