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from Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems by Jen Bervin (with Marta Werner)

About the Poet

Jen Bervin

Jen Bervin is a visual artist and poet whose multidisciplinary practice weaves together situated poetics, research-driven works, and long-term collaborations with specialists ranging from literary scholars to material scientists. The subject of a survey publication “Jen Bervin: Shift Rotate Reflect, Selected Works” (University Galleries of Illinois State University, 2022), Bervin’s work has been exhibited internationally and is held in more than sixty collections. Her books include “Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems” (with Marta Werner) (New Directions Press, 2013); “Silk Poems” (Nightboat Books, 2017), a poem written nanoscale in the form of a silk biosensor with Tufts University’s Silk Lab; “Nets,” (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2003), a book created within a palimpsest of Shakespeare’s sonnets to yield crystalline and prescient new poems; and numerous artist’s books in conjunction with Granary Books. Bervin holds 2023–2024 research fellowships at Yale University and Harvard University.

To explore more of Bervin’s work, visit: jenbervin.com

Related Event

  • On Friday, November 3 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Jen Bervin will deliver “Measuring the Sun,” the University at Buffalo Department of English 2023 Robert Creeley Lecture on Poetry and Poetics at the UB Poetry Collection, 420 Capen Hall, University at Buffalo North Campus. The lecture will present a first glimpse from work in progress by Jen Bervin and conservator Debora Mayer. “Measuring the Sun” – pursues a conceptual, scientific, and literary investigation of the material history of poet Emily Dickinson’s embossed writing materials and their entangled relationships between text and textiles. Machine-made cotton and linen rag writing paper—an emergent, booming technology in the Berkshire mills surrounding Amherst, Massachusetts, came of age alongside Dickinson in the mid-nineteenth century. The corresponding blind-stamped mill embossments—tactile, sculptural, nearly invisible—on Dickinson’s writing papers have become a research portal to trace and render visible underlying histories blistering the blank page: including colonial expropriation of native land, culture, and waterways; the machinations of the cotton empire encompassing the horrors of trans-Atlantic enslavement; the global rag trade in cotton and linen textile materials; Make your reservation.

The Poem of the Week feature is curated by literary legacy awardee R.D. Pohl.