Jo Burns and Emily Cooper : The Conversation

Time and date

Wednesday 17 July 2024

1:00 pm


Bantry Library

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The Conversation is a collaborative poetry collection by Jo Burns and Emily Cooper which imagines a conversation held between Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar and Françoise Gilot, three of Picasso’s lovers and subjects. More often than not these figures were not named, but titled by their actions: weeping, reading, reclining. What Picasso wilfully obscured was the women behind these paintings: their lives and works, their relationships with him, their children and careers that were indelibly marked by their connection to a man considered to be one of the greatest artists of all time.

Admission: Free

At a recent exhibition of Dora Maar’s work, a painting that depicts a conversation between Maar and fellow Picasso lover/muse Marie-Thérèse Walter was hung in the room leading on to her photographic documentation of Guernica. This placement was not accidental; Maar and Walter famously came to blows in front of the work- in-progress in Picasso’s studio. This painting of two women whispering over their shoulders to each other is the inspiration behind The Conversation. The poems are a discussion held between Maar, Walter and Picasso’s next lover, Françoise Gilot, as well as an exterior conversation held between the poets Jo Burns and Emily Cooper. Within these intimate correspondences are secrets and confessions, what could have been said between these women had they spoken.


What drives this collection is not only the act of unmasking the women behind the paintings, but an exploration of what it means to be an artist, who can represent who and what value is held in both making art and in being its subject.


The event is supported by Doire Press and the Arts Council



Jo Burns

Jo Burns was born in County Derry but now lives in Germany. The author of Circling for Gods (Eyewear Publishing), White Horses and Brink (both Turas Press), Jo has also...

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Emily Cooper

Emily Cooper is a poet and writer based in Donegal. Her poetry and prose has been published in The Stinging Fly, Banshee, Winter Papers and London Magazine, among others. A...

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