May Stevens, Martha Collins
Milkweek for Jane
(in memorium Jane Cooper, 1924-2007)
diptych: acrylic, silver ink and milkweed,
excerpts of poems by Jane Cooper from
The Flashboat (Norton 2000)
Text Design: Steve Yadzinski
22 1/2" x 19 1/2" each
(Photo: Tom Van Endye)
                                                                 COLLABORATIVE STATEMENT
                                                       Artist May Stevens and Poet Martha Collins

We agreed to this project in September 2007, when and because our friend Jane Cooper was dying.
Stevens said, referring to the title of Cooper’s Collected Poems, “I want to use the flashboat, and light”;
Collins, walking in the meadow outside Jane’s residence, gathered milkweed.

By December, Collins had made some poetic notes; incorporating some of Collin’s words, Stevens made
some small paintings.  We imagined a patchwork; we imagined one large work; we were unhappy with
what we imagined.

More or less giving up, we decided to use a completed painting of Stevens that takes its title from Jane’s
work.  During the spring, Collins wrote a poem to accompany it.

Then Stevens completed the two paintings included in this work. In response, two new poems found their
form, columned, as in a visual field. The poems collage Collins’ original notes, her earlier poem, Jane
Cooper’s words, and the “content” of the paintings, which themselves use words from Collins’ earlier
notes and some of the milkweed. The resulting work is actually a collaboration between three of us; Jane
Cooper, who died in October 2007, is the collaboration’s presiding spirit.
Left side poetry
Right side poetry