on poetry

March 7, 2023

Words matter, for
Language is an ark.
Language is an art,
An articulate artifact.
Language is a life craft.
Language is a life raft.
Amanda Gorman
(b. March 7, 1998)

. . . . .
photo by Abbie Trayler-Smith
Quote excerpted from “What We Carry” in Call Us What We Carry: Poems

language, visible

December 23, 2022

Jaume Plensa is a Barcelona artist whose most recognizable work is architectural-scale sculpture commissioned for sites throughout the world.

The Shard, itself a quite-recognizable elongated pyramidal structure at London Bridge, is home to one of Plensa’s most recent public artworks, “WE,” (photo above) which uses letters and characters from seven alphabets. (Follow the link to read and see more of WE.)

The artist’s use of language is both visual and metaphorical. To see more, have a look at his current exhibit at Fundación Bancaja in Valencia, Spain, “Poesía del silencio.” The site is in Spanish, but click through the Fotos to see the many ways that Plensa makes language — and silence — visible.

choosing your audience

July 25, 2022

In case you are struggling to find the right audience for your work, or to address your work to the right audience, consider Richard A Carter, whose book Signals was published this year by Guillemot Press.

Signals is Richard Carter’s speculative attempt at generating poetry using the mathematical language of Lincos, a system designed by Hans Freudenthal in 1960 as a method of communicating with extra-terrestrials. Accompanying each visual poem is a visual rendering of data from the Kepler telescope as it searched for habitable planets and alien life.

Carter’s work also appeared in Volume 4 of the Electronic Literature Collection, which we mentioned just a month ago, to say nothing of scores of academic and non-academic journals, books, and programs.

Find out more in “How to Write Poetry to Communicate With Aliens” or follow Richard A Carter on Twitter @RichardACarter2 or on Instagram at richardacarter2.

on poetry

August 10, 2021

“I write out of curiosity — to see what language can do at the ‘limit-cases’ of writing. I believe that poetry constitutes the ‘R & D wing’ of language, reverse-engineering this alien technology for human expression. I build anti-gravity machines out of words.”
Christian Bök
(b. August 10, 1966)

. . . . .

lots of listening

July 12, 2021

If your podcast list is ready for an update, have a listen at The Verb. BBC Radio 3’s “cabaret of the word” features poetry, prose, discussion, language talk, new writing, and performance. There are 128 episodes online, each around 45 minutes, hosted by the poet, journalist, playwright, and Yorkshire-accented Ian McMillan.

More poetry podcast posts.

on poetry

May 8, 2021

“People are now beginning to take action for language and cultural survival, and my work is to help provide inspiration and tools for this through my writing.”
Nora Marks Keixwnéi Dauenhauer
(May 8, 1927 – September 25, 2017)

. . . . .

on poetry

January 20, 2021

“try to put the poetry in the language that we speak, to use that language, take those simple words and make out of them something that is moving, that is powerful, that is there.”
Pat Parker
(January 20, 1944 – June 17, 1989)

on poetry

November 27, 2020

“I am trying to imagine language without light, as though I wanted to understand how things were before language, when, deep in the throat, syllables and vowels were not yet organized and it was necessary to tilt one’s head back to allow sounds to fly through the open air, terrifying, guttural or strident.”
Nicole Brossard
(b. November 27, 1943)

. . . . .
quote: Fences in Breathing

change, one word at a time

November 25, 2020

If you are a writer, linguist, lexicographer, sociolinguist, language technologist, word enthusiast, or someone interested in how languages evolve, you may be interested in the fascinating, free, downloadable Words of an Unprecedented Year report from Oxford University Press.

In addition, there will be a free webinar, Words of an unprecedented year: Behind the scenes of the Oxford Languages’ Word of the Year 2020, on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at 7:00am Pacific. It will be recorded and available for later viewing. Registration is required.

comics, seriously

October 4, 2020

Neil Cohn thinks seriously about comics. With a Ph.D. in Psychology from Tufts University and post-doc work at U.C. San Diego, he is currently an Associate Professor at Tilburg University, in the Netherlands. His work explores the “similarities between the underlying structure of language and the structure found in the ‘visual language’ used in comics.”

Not surprisingly, those similarities extend to visual poetry.

If you’re interested in visual language, have a look at Cohn’s Visual Language Lab and his latest book, Who Understands Comics?: Questioning the Universality of Visual Language Comprehension (Bloomsbury 2020).

. . . . .

image by Neil Cohn

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