Strant Magazine has released it’s latest issue today over at StrantMag.com. This issue focuses entirely on the theme of Family. There are two really great, thoughtful essays by editor/photographer Shaun H. Kelly and curator/photographer Jesse Groves. Also included are two interviews and a photobook discussion. All of it is well worth the read.
My wife, Emily, and I are honored to have our work, ‘Lovely Brood’, included alongside such talented writers and photographers.
Today we present Knipton: A Leicestershire Village by John O’Connor, featuring 35 of O’Connor’s wood engravings. The text is set in 14-point Bell and printed on Zerkall mould-made paper in an edition of 200 at the Whittington Press in 1996.
John O’Connor (1913-2004) was an English painter and wood engraver. His obituary described him as the last of the “heroic” generation of pre-war engravers, including Eric Gill, Robert Gibbings, Edward Gordon Craig, John and Paul Nash, and Eric Ravilious. A student of Ravilious, O’Connor’s first commission was to illustrate Here’s Flowers (1937) for Christopher Sanford at the Golden Cockerel Press. O’Connor’s wood engravings reflect his deep love of the English countryside, which are portrayed in a more imaginative than realistic fashion. His style focuses heavily on the expression of line, significant contrast between light and dark, and patterned textures. He began introducing color into his woodcuts around 1950 by overprinting linocuts.
The Whittington Press, located in Herefordshire, England, was founded in 1971 by John and Rosalind Randle. Their first book, Richard Kennedy’s A Boy at Hogarth Press was published in 1972 and received widespread acclaim. According to their website, the pair founded the press due to “an early enthusiasm for Caslon type, Albion presses, and hand-made paper, and partly the wish to escape from London publishing jobs at the weekend.” Since their founding, the press has produced over 200 titles. Their catalog contains a variety of imprints, including type specimens, books on engraving, and works of belles lettres. In addition to finely printed books, Whittington also publishes the book arts journal Matrix: A Review for Printers & Bibliophiles.
John O’Connor grew up in Connecticut, New Mexico and Iowa. After a year in college, he earned a living doing factory, construction, custodial and other unskilled work until he recorded an album of his original songs on Flying Fish Records and began an unlikely career as a folksinger and songwriter, touring on the U.S. coffeehouse circuit. In the late nineties he began working as a union organizer and publishing his poems in various literary journals: Sycamore Review, Baltimore Review, Columbia Journal of Arts and Literature, Indiana Review, Seneca Review and Silk Road, to name a few. His poems have been nominated twice for a pushcart prize and he won the Association of Writers and Writing Program’s Prague Prize. He lives in Vermont and central New York State. His first book of poems, Half the Truth, won the 2015 Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry.
Tonight we’re at the Bellingham Public Library! 210 Central Avenue Bellingham, WA 98227 (Use the back fountain entry.) bellinghampubliclibrary.org
Doors and sign-up at 7:45pm. Poetry begins at 8:00pm sharp! Bring poetry and feel free to sign up to read it!
Tonight’s featured poet is John O'Connor
Free to the public, but we do pass a jar around to collect donations to help pay for things like visiting poets and the occasional publication.
Casino Blues My father said they’re going to have their gambling no matter how much you put up a fuss. Get on with your life, your foolish yellow sun rising over those towns of brick and clapboard and children running for no reason. Air raids long ago stopped their whining. I threw cards into a hat and waited for my shift to end, having finished my work two hours early stuck in the room reserved for wage slaves. It’s not so bad she said when I met her later at the café. No love, monotonous work, box cars full of raw lumber and I believed her. It’s not so bad, the yellow town, the setting sun, the soft pink clouds heading toward St. Louis. She was the girl who could make you say anything to keep her for a few minutes longer. She had a train to catch. I had a slot machine to get to that had lost its arm and was humbly readying to take what I had not yet spilt coming here, breathless, from out of nowhere.
[first publication forthcoming in St. Ann’s Review]
The Embankment by Leonard Bentley Via Flickr: This is a painting by John O'Connor entitled “The Embankment” dating from 1874. O'Connor painted the scene from the terrace of Somerset House looking towards the City of London. As well as the Cityscape he has painted the Bank of England picquet or Guard on their way to the Bank marching along Victoria Embankment which is only two years old.
On Friday, January 30th, at 6:30 p.m., we’ll host the poet and activist Jan Clausen. She’ll be reading from her new book, Veiled Spill: A Sequence, as well as discussing her work as an artist and activist. Music will be provided by John O'Connor. This event is co-sponsored by Brooklyn for Peace, an organization of Brooklyn residents dedicated to eliminating war and the social injustices that are its causes through community empowerment and education.