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New books bring artists and writers together

Published 15 September 2014

A quick look at some of the new titles which draw on the connection between art and the written word.

  • From the Autumn 2014 issue of RA Magazine, issued quarterly to Friends of the RA.

    “I know that clay, the damp and dirt of it, / The coolth along the bank, the grassy zest.” So wrote the late Seamus Heaney in a poem inspired by Banks of a Canal, Near Naples (c.1872) by French painter Gustave Caillebotte, reminding us that it is often poetry in which great art finds its equivalent.

    Heaney is one of more than 50 distinguished Irish writers who, in the new anthology Lines of Vision (Thames & Hudson, £19.95), respond to the National Gallery of Ireland’s art collection with works of their own. There has, of course, been a long standing love-in between poetry and painting, and Jenni Quilter’s New York School Painters & Poets (Rizzoli, £50) explores a fruitful period of their crossover during Abstract Expressionism, reproducing rare material that reveals the relationships between artists such as Willem de Kooning and poets such as Frank O’Hara.

    Artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh becomes a subject for fiction in Esther Freud’s new novel Mr Mac and Me (Bloomsbury, £16.99), which focuses on the Scotsman’s stay in Suffolk during the First World War. RA Schools alumna Sarah Pickstone warms to an interdisciplinary theme in Park Notes (Daunt Books, £16.99) – the painter draws together works about Regent’s Park by artists and writers such as Sylvia Plath and Michael Landy RA. Other earthly paradises, from the gardens of ancient Egypt to those of the commuter belt, are meanwhile celebrated in text and artworks in the anthology Pleasures of the Garden (British Library, £20).

    Sam Phillips (@SamP_London) is Editor of RA Magazine.

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