The Written Image

Robert Perkins is known for his storytelling. Born in Boston and classically educated at Milton Academy and Harvard University (AB 1974), he received an MFA from the Low Residency Writing Graduate Program at Bennington College in 2004. However, his true education began while spending his 19th year on Bowditch Hall, the men’s locked ward at McLean Hospital in Belmont MA. (see his book Talking To Angels). The trauma of this year was his key to a more authentic life, a key to following his dreams.

Three great poets taught at Harvard in the early 1970s: Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, and Octavio Paz. For three years, they were my teachers. My father objected, saying he was paying for my education and wouldn’t I take a history, or economics course? On the other side, my mother (pictured at the right) supported my dreams whole heartedly. On my first one-on-one meeting with Elizabeth, she said, “You’re not a poet. What are you?” I said I wanted to be a painter. She said, “We’ll have to think of something to get you credit.” She wrote out her poem The Fish and offered it to me to illustrate. I went down the hall and asked Robert Lowell if he would give me something. We had lunch at the Iruna restaurant where he picked a piece of paper I’d brought and wrote out the opening lines of Man and Wife. He laughed manically when he handed it to me, and said, “Have fun with that…”

The Written Image was launched.

Click here to download the Written Image Catalogue


The Poets

Click on poet’s picture to see the collaboration

John Ashbery

John Ashbery

Claire Clube

Claire Clube

Donald Hall

Donald Hall

Richard Howard

Richard Howard

James Merrill

James Merrill

William Meredith

William Meredith

Debra Wierenga

Debra Wierenga

Frank Bidart

Frank Bidart

Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

Louise Gluck

Louise Gluck

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Robert Lowell

Robert Lowell

John Montague

John Montague

Octavio Paz

Octavio Paz

Jean Valentine

Jean Valentine

David Whyte

David Whyte

Basil Bunting

Basil Bunting

Jon Galassi

Jon Galassi

Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg

Henri Cole

Henri Cole

J.D. Mcclatchy

J.D. Mcclatchy

W.S. Merwin

W.S. Merwin

Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky

Mark Strand

Mark Strand

 

Click on poet’s picture to see the collaboration