Poetry News

Jen Bervin and Marta Werne on Dickinson's Envelope Poems

By Harriet Staff

From The Crimson:

Artist Jen Bervin and scholar Marta Werner gave a talk on the portfolio of prints they recently created of Dickinson’s envelope poetry. The two produced 60 limited-edition artist books with copies of their full-color and full-scale prints of Dickinson’s original manuscripts. The books, which include a guide and an essay by Werner, are sold by Granary Books for $3,500, but the audience at Houghton had the chance to handle the prints for free.

Woodberry Poetry Room curator Christina Davis, who organized the event, spoke to the significance of Bervin and Werner’s work.

“[Their portfolio] is going to be a seminal moment in Dickinson scholarship,” Davis said. “It is going to open up the possibilities for how to confront Dickinson’s work.”

Bervin talked about the visual nature of the manuscripts.

“A poet as visual as Dickinson has a lot of resonance with the way I think about the page visually,” said Bervin, who not only is a visual artist but also holds a master’s degree in poetry. She described her own work on her project with Werner, which is titled “The Gorgeous Nothings,” as a visual representation of Dickinson’s.

“It’s an opportunity to both read and see her manuscripts in the same space,” Bervin said. “And that’s important with her because her manuscripts are so strongly visual.”

Full article here.

Originally Published: October 8th, 2012