InterArts Students Add Special Touch to This Weekend’s Poetry Foundation Symposium


Over the past several years the Center for Book and Paper Arts and the Poetry Foundation have developed a strong collaborative partnership. From the annual Printers’ Ball event to the Epicenter produced / Don Share edited publication series, the Center’s staff, faculty, and students have enjoyed giving shape to some of the most important poetry being written today. 


In this most recent collaboration, the two are coming together to celebrate the life of an extraordinary painter, Joan Mitchell, in a daylong symposium entitled Sitting Between the Sea and the Buildings, taking place this Saturday, May 11, from 12:00 noon–6:30 p.m. at the Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street in Chicago. The symposium title is named after the first line of John Ashbery’s poem The Painter,, and is organized by the Joan Mitchell Foundation and Poetry magazine. Mitchell worked with a great number of poets and writers during her life, and her mother Marion was an editor at Poetry magazine for many years. Mitchell’s close friend Bill Berkson will be speaking at the event, along with a number of artists who have received Joan Mitchell Foundation awards over the years.

Several Book and Paper program students at various stages in their graduate work (Alex Borgen, Jillian Bruschera, Heather Buechler, Krista Franklin, Kate Morgan, Levi Sherman) have worked as a team to produce two keepsakes for the event.


Working with CBPA’s April Sheridan (Special Projects Coordinator) and Journal of Artists’ Books editor Brad Freeman on technical advising, they have teamed up in the CBPA studios to create two works that will be made available to symposium attendees.

One of the pieces is an offset broadside that was created with poet Bill Berkson. The second piece, a handmade shaped-sheet paper with letterpress printed image and a sewn element, was created with artist Lesley Dill.

line it up

Participants at the Symposium will include poets Bill Berkson, Douglas Kearney, and John Yau; visual artists Terry Adkins, Lesley Dill, and Mildred Howard; and April Sheridan and Stephen Woodall of the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago. The afternoon will conclude with the announcement of a commissioned performance piece, to be created collaboratively by Adkins and Kearney. The goal of the commission is to examine and experience how collaboration can change the way artists and poets think and work.

The event has been organized in conjunction with the exhibition currently on view at the Poetry Foundation: Joan Mitchell: At Home in Poetry. The exhibition features a large-scale quadriptych painting, Minnesota (1980), as well as photographs, correspondence, print portfolios, and artists’ books Joan Mitchell created in collaboration with poets. It will be open through May 31, 2013. Both the symposium and the exhibition are free and open to the public.

dill 1

For more information on the exhibition and symposium, click here.