Conference footnote

In my paper to the Oxford Conference I made a number of references to the work of the poet and painter Max Jacob, not only because his writings were keen and pertinent, but because he too was having a 50th anniversary.

A Jew born in Brittany, he turned to the Christian church after a vision of Christ in his own room. He later met Christ in a cinema, 'in the cheapest seats.' At his baptism Picasso was his godfather. His latter years were spent in the manner of a hermit-monk in St Benoit sur Loire, where he was eventually arrested by the SS in 1944. He died of pneumonia at the prison hospital in Drancy, where he was awaiting transportation to Auschwitz. Near the end of his life he wrote two book-length letters to young men, one of advice to a student who wanted to become a poet, the other full of counsel on study. In both works he sets out to ground aesthetics, the creative life, and study, in the development of a rich and vibrant spiritual life. As a commemoration I have brought out translations of these two books, Advice to a Young Poet and Advice to a Student, as well as a third volume called The Quimper Poems which includes English versions of some of his poems, and a poem in homage. These are available as a limited edition package for 5.00 from Asgill Press, 1 Stonefield Avenue, Lincoln, LN2 1QL.

Gordon Jackson

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