March 24, 2018
JACKIE MARTIN is introducing her poem-prints and in particular, the tryptich ‘Vivie’ at Lombard Street Gallery on Saturday 31st March 2.30pm to launch an exhibition showing until 7th May.
‘Vivie’ was written by Jackie in homage to T.S Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’. It uses a similar structure with multiple voices, from the point of view of Tom Eliot’s first wife, Vivien.
Jackie will be playing a recording of her poem, presenting her artwork and revealing why Mrs Elliot’s 1918 journey to see Bertrand Russell in prison became the inspiration for ‘Vivie’.
Background to poem-prints
Jackie Martin studied fine art printmaking before moving into graphic design. During her career she has worked in magazine publishing, TV branding, animation, games, web and interactive design. More recently, she began to develop her poetry skills, and following a Masters in Creative Writing, brought together word and image in a return to printmaking. Poem texts are combined with embossed backgrounds which form ink-free images made of shadows. These flavour each poem, offering a tone or atmosphere rather than a precise steer on the content. All-white images are mounted and framed in white, allowing the reader to add their own colours as they reconstruct the poem’s pictures in their mind. Based in Margate, Jackie is exhibiting several poem-prints referencing the town’s beach and attractions.
She is also showing her long poem-print Vivie – framed as a visual tryptich – for the first time. The poem was written in homage to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, using the same five-part structure, its shifting rhythm changes and a cast of many voices. But while The Waste Land is thick with ‘high-brow’ literary allusions, Vivie’s are populist. This is because the poem is written from the point of view of Tom Eliot’s first wife, Vivien. Suppressing her own skills and her desire for children, Vivien Eliot loyally helped her husband to develop as a poet. She has, however, been perpetually portrayed as a thorn in the side of a genius: hysterical, silly and vulgar, a woman who smoked, danced and said what she thought. But by being different – and often difficult – Vivien could be said to have made Eliot a great poet.
In contrast to the non-linear form of The Waste Land, Vivie offers an underlying narrative. It covers Vivien Eliot’s journey across London in 1918 to see her lover Bertrand Russell in Brixton Prison, to plead for him to share again in the Eliot’s house lease, since the couple are destitute. The Eliot’s sexless marriage has led to a complicated relationship with Russell, tacitly encouraged by Tom Eliot but disparaged by Vivien’s friend, the writer Mary Hutchinson, whom she meets with in the poem.
The embossed images which accompany the text of Vivie offer an alternative take on the penultimate line of The Waste Land: ‘Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata’, while also giving shape to Vivien Eliot’s thoughts on previous, happier times; on the intervention of war; and her hopes for something better.
Poetry published in
Magma, Prole, The Caterpillar, The Moth