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Concrete Poetry

I’m trying to wrap my head around concrete poetry again. Better head than ankles I suppose.

I always try to go too deep, mining for meaning when reading. Thinking too hard. This is a step back and forward at the same time. What’s here?

bread in park
derek beaulieu’s Fractal Economies thru bread bubble.

From an afterward after words concrete poetry attempts “to shatter the chain of signification” to play in shapes of language as Sianne Ngai in a way that “deliberately interferes with close reading”. It messes with assumptions.

It questions the practice of holy meaning making always. It asks by practice what systems one is supporting and promoting even one one criticizes from within because one embeds the culture in the linear dialogues even in the most subversive of narratives. Instead concrete is refusing to play by those rules.

Accidental text, machine-degraded or mutilated bits of language have meaning only to the viewer if the viewer choses. The words and partial letter shape or language-like shapes aren’t invested with symbolism to decode. It de-dramatizes when the prevailing thrust is to impose dramas into stories and hook readers. This unhooks the idea that letters have a mandate to make sound or sense. They, zen, are. Existence on the terms of existing proving existence.

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3 Responses

  1. Yup.. I think the super-concrete (narrow swans,
    letter shapes) is pretty well faded.

    I can still appreciate the narrow tie vogue
    back from extremes. Shannon Tharp and
    Joseph Massey know how to ‘see in the
    stark’, but then, their words are worth it.

    I saw some concrete poetry on the canvas
    at a gallery once. I really liked it when it
    morphed with the artwork. More space to
    use. Hard to handle as one font on a standard
    page, though..

  2. Swan poems is a different sense of concrete, shape poems.

    By concrete poems here, the text is an object without semantics per se. More like text shapes for art as you likely saw in a gallery.

    On a standard page it could be managed like illustrations for layout.

    It may be made by shredding text, photocopying photocopies of photocopies to see what degraded images produce, chopping letters out of preexisting context, using letraset letters for aesthetic or anti-aethetic arrangement with or without drawing or lines or random visual noise.

    Love your phrase of seeing in the stark. more about Massey’s upcoming shortly. Just received his newest! :)

    PearlMay 4, 2010 @ 9:36 pm
  3. another sort of concrete poem would be where text meets conceptual art such as this project:

    “Ejected Material”
    Matthew Lee Knowles and George Chambers
    exhibition at Oxford University, Jerwood Room
    June 16th – 19th 2010

    For this exhibition we need lots and lots of chads (the little circles of paper from holepunches) preferably on lined paper, but we will accept anything!

    please send (by the 11th June) to:

    Ejected Material
    6 Cotesbach Road
    E5 9QJ

    You will be credited on the program :)

    PearlMay 5, 2010 @ 10:55 pm

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