Tribute to Jean C. Lee

Jean Lee was an amazing artist, writer, editor, and human being. I first met her when I was a student at Knox College and she was the technical advisor for Catch, the student literary magazine. She taught me most everything I know about editing and design. Later, after I had worked in Chicago for a couple of years and was returning to reality after an extended European trip one summer and fall, Jean and Robin Metz took me in. Jean offered me a job typesetting the mammoth Siwasher/Catch Alumni Edition and helping with typesetting and layout of Farmer’s Market, a regional literary magazine that had developed quite a reputation after she took it over. That is when I became acquainted with Jean’s graphic arts work on the covers. The series was to extend through the alphabet, though unfortunately I never collected more than the ones I’ve posted here as a tribute to her life and creative genius. I would love to see more of those covers, if anyone has them. I’m not positive whether she was able to complete the series of linoleum block prints before circumstances caused her to give up the magazine and leave Galesburg. I regret that I didn’t maintain contact with Jean in recent years. She was a wonderful person and a gifted artist. Our world is poorer for her passing.

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

One thought on “Tribute to Jean C. Lee

  1. Kendall, these covers are wonderful. They remind me of Walter Anderson’s genius with a little Aubrey Beardsley mixed in. My favorite is the C (pairing the cat and the corn husk doll is really memorable). Jean Lee was a brilliant artist, and I’m glad you have introduced me to her.

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