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Jenny Joseph An essay and five poems, after drawings by Jaume Prohens

Images and Texts

These five drawings and texts formed part of an exhibition by the Catalan artist Jaume Prohens. Drawing a Response was the second exhibition Oliver Jelf mounted at the Illustration Gallery, his new gallery in Stroud. Jelf’s experience of illustration had been mainly where the illustrator is presented with a finished text or even a remit to draw a marketing manager’s idea for a book cover. The range of relationship between illustrator and writer is wide and has something in common with that between translator and translated: from nil to being implicated as strands twisted to make a rope are. Some poets in the Stroud area were invited to look at Prohens’ drawings and write a poem to be exhibited alongside. I have enjoyed working in different ways with graphic and non-literary artists and I had suggested this very exercise of reversing the position of writer and illustrator/song-setter to an American composer who had set some of my published poems – wouldn’t it be fun, for a change, for the writer to be presented with ready-made music to write words for?

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