a visual (poetry) feast

June 21, 2021

hand holding magnifying lens over colorful strips of paper with handwritten poetry text

Here’s something colorful to start your summer: Poetry Quilt by Diane Samuels.

To make Poetry Quilt, which is 90″ x 87″ x 1/2″, artist Samuels tore 50 of her own drawings into 3-1/2″ by 5/8″ strips, collaged them, and then hand-transcribed in micro-script the text of 198 of her favorite poems. To create this and other works, the artist uses her own handwriting and other people’s words. Here’s the full text of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and here is a hand-transcription of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Much more, including public-art pieces, on Diane Samuels’s website, and here’s an interview with Diane Samuels in Tupelo Quarterly.

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Photo: Thomas Little

vispo for NatPoMo

April 9, 2021

If you are interested in visual poetry, AngelHousePress is posting a new vispo piece each day of National Poetry Month at NationalPoetryMonth.ca. Amanda Earl, the “fallen angel” of AngelHousePress, writes:

The work in this year’s collection is kinetic, vibrant, and geometric. Through videos, collages, asemic writing, pictorals, self-portraits, poem-objects, assemblages, erasure, photographs, scans, using paper, ink, old book paper, recycled materials, artist pens, bio-resin, hand-made stamps, graphite, fabric, paint, nailpolish, rocks and shreds of failed poems, our contributors demonstrate the playful and enriching possibilities of visual poetry and poetry itself.

The international collection, arriving one per day during April, will remain on view throughout the year.

light reading

January 9, 2021

For a change of pace, have a look at Comic Book Resources, where Theo Kogod recommends “5 DC Comics To Read If You Love Poetry (& 5 Indie Comics Just As Good).”

More poetry comics here.

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).

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image by Neil Cohn

good old-fashioned vispo

September 29, 2020

If you tend to think of visual poetry as a fairly recent phenomenon (if you think of it at all, that is), have a look at this collection of Early Visual Poetry on UbuWeb.

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image: Juan Caramuel de Lobkowitz, “Primus calamus ob oculos ponens metametricam” Rome 1663

Trinidad Escobar is a storyteller, poet, visual artist, and full-time cartoonist from Milpitas, California. She combines her comics/illustrations with poetry, memoir, essays, fiction, and more. See lots of examples on her website and unlock more on Patreon.

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image: Self-Portrait

Reasons to go to… New York

September 26, 2019

Really, who needs a reason? But if you should find that your travel plans include New York this autumn, be sure to visit The Center for Book Arts, which is presenting three new exhibitions that showcase the book as a medium that translates across time and space: Walt Whitman’s Words: Inspiring Artists Today curated by Deirdre Lawrence, The Traveling Artist: Journals by Lydia Rubio, and Witnessing Through Artist’s Books: Clarissa Sligh. These exhibits will be open to the public October 4 through December 14, 2019. (Note: The Center for Book Arts website is under construction, so here is a detailed description on Eventbrite, and here is a Facebook link.)

Walt Whitman’s Words includes work by the remarkable artist Meg Hitchcock. If you do go to New York, you can also see Hitchcock’s visual poetics at C24 Gallery (September 26 – November 29), Doug Adams Gallery at Graduate Theological Union (September 5 – December 13), and Green Door Gallery in Brooklyn (October 11 – November 10, 2019).

We’ve posted before about the Sackner Archive, Ruth and Marvin Sackner’s astonishing collection of some 75,000 pieces of visual and concrete poetry. Housed at the Sackner’s residence in Miami for many years, the entire collection has now found a new home at the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections. The archive will be open by appointment to students, scholars, and the general public starting January 2020.

Read the announcement here, browse the archive online here, or start planning your 2020 trip to Iowa City, A UNESCO City of Literature.

Reasons to go to…

May 9, 2017

If you are interested in concrete and visual poetry, you may want to plan a trip to Miami this winter. November 17, 2017 through April 15, 2018, The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will present From the truer world of the other: Typewriter Art from the PAMM Collection. In 2016, PAMM acquired over 400 language-based works from the 70,000+ piece collection of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. The upcoming exhibition explores the experimental visual and poetic typewriter creations of approximately 15 artists, including Carl Andre, Henri Chopin, Dom Sylvester Houédard, d.a. levy, and Françoise Mairey.

See this 2014 Poetry Department post for additional informative links about the Sackner collection.

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image: Dom Sylvester Houédard. from the truer world of the other (dsh 720113), 1972. Typewriting on paper, 13 x 8 inches. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, acquired from The Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

If your travel plans between March 28 and July 30, 2017, include Southern California, you may want to visit the Getty Center to see Concrete Poetry: Words and Sounds in Graphic Space. The exhibit focuses on the visual, verbal, and sonic experiments of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, displaying material drawn principally from the Getty Research Institute’s collection.

Admission to the Getty Center and the exhibit, in Research Institute Gallery I, is free and no tickets are required. (Parking is $15.)

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image: Open (Abre), Augusto de Campos (b. 1931) and Julio Plaza (1938–2003), 1969.

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