Artifex: Leonard Baskin and the Gehenna Press


The early years of Gehenna Press

Baskin & Hughes

An Architect of the Page

“Of the making of books…”




Honoring James Baldwin

The Oresteia



The early years of Gehenna Press : Wilfred Owen

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One of Gehenna Press's first efforts to publish a fine press edition was Thirteen Poems by Wilfred Owen. Owen (1893-1918) was a gifted poet and soldier whose life was tragically cut short by machine gun fire, just days before the Armistice for World War I was signed in Paris. Ben Shahn, a friend of Baskin’s, agreed to illustrate the volume with fifteen drawings, which were reproduced via photo-lithography for this letterpress edition. The title page image, however, was reproduced in a far more laborious manner: Baskin carved the wood engraving himself.

Wilfred Owen. Thirteen Poems. Wood engraving by Leonard Baskin after a portrait drawing by Ben Shahn. Gehenna Press, 1956.