In Memoriam: Jenni B. Baker

Today’s poem, Clare Cavanagh’s and Stanisław Barańczak’s translation of “Miracle Fair” by Wisława Szymborska, is featured in memory of Poetry Daily designer and friend Jenni B. Baker. As the founder and lead designer of the Binding Agency, Baker created the web experience our readers now enjoy. She died on November 4, 2020 after a long battle with Glioblastoma, a rare and incurable brain cancer. We grieve with Jenni’s friends, artistic community, and with her family, including Douglas Luman, her life partner and collaborator, who writes:

Reading “Miracle Fair” in relief of the recent loss of Jenni Baker creates a difficult proposition: at a time when we are still grieving, how can we think about miracles? For those of us who knew Jenni in any of her many roles—partner, educator, poet, artist, designer, community builder, and more—miracles are easy to see. In addition to her professional work in the non-profit sector, she led a poetry journal and a press; organized resources to support both new and experienced writers; gathered hundreds of people together to pursue writing and art projects that served as practice and career-altering moments for many of them.

Counted among Jenni’s main gifts were creating communities and encouraging them to both dream and see the unthinkable. Her work on the current iteration of the Poetry Daily site became one of the final and most complete examples. Beyond being the sum of all of her talents and skills, it enabled her to give back to the artistic community she loved.

The editors and staff who worked so closely with Jenni B. Baker remember her today and daily, in her luminous skill and imagination, “Second to none: / just this orchard / from just that seed.”