ROOM 220 presents the launch of Benjamin Morris and Myrtle von Damitz III’s Ecotone (Antenna :: Press Street Press) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 14, 2017, at Antenna Gallery (3718 St. Claude Ave.). Free and open to the public, the event will feature a reading, signing, and reception.
Ecotone is a new volume of poetry and painting by Morris and von Damitz. Morris, a poet and writer who is the author of the book, and von Damitz, a painter with longstanding ties to coastal Louisiana, have collaborated to produce a joint volume of their work.
The poems in Ecotone come from a manuscript begun during Morris’ 2011 residency at A Studio in the Woods in New Orleans, an environmental research site and artist colony located in an endangered bottomland hardwood forest on the lower coast of Algiers, LA. The book consists of a linked series of allegorical poems that give voice to a mysterious community through the witness of a group of foreign travelers through the landscape. Von Damitz’ paintings serve as companion pieces to the poems–not as illustrations, but as her own explorations of the fragility, beauty, and strangeness of this landscape.
A native of Mississippi, Benjamin Morris is the author of Coronary (Fitzgerald Letterpress, 2011) and Hattiesburg, Mississippi: A History of the Hub City (Arcadia/History Press, 2014). Formerly a researcher in cultural geography at the Open University and the University of Edinburgh, he is presently a member of the Mississippi Artist Roster. He lives in New Orleans.
Myrtle von Damitz III was born in upstate New York, grew up in Vermont and California, and moved to New Orleans in 1998 where she lived and worked for nearly fifteen years. A self-taught artist and curator, she is known for bringing diverse artists and disciplines together in incongruous atmospheres. In 2017 she resettled in Eugene, Oregon, after a stint as a long-haul truck driver.