Saturday, July 25, 2009


Reporting from the vispo conference in Finland, Geof Huth has relayed that Finnish vispoet Marko Niemi has started a new blog.

To me this is very exciting. Of course it at the moment just means the unveiling of a blog that hasn't any posts yet. But, from the Phaidos disc to Chinese & Islamic caligraphy, Apollinaire to the concretists, there is something new under the sun.

Or, at least, there is an attempt to recognize and begin real discussion of a new form, in (under the banner OuVispoPo) the tradition the Movement for Potential Literature, a movement for potential visual poetry.

This will be different from much of the visual poetry's history in that this 'wing' of vispo will be a conceptual side (tho I think Nico V's work is a different conceptual side), based on deterministic form & constraint. Those of us who choose to get to work on this will need to get to work on lists of instructions, diagrams & frameworks, & other devices.

The parent movement, oulipo, or OuLiPo, or Ouvrement pour Literature Potentiale, led to such works as Perec's A Void (a novel that lacked the letter "e," and in translation the letter "y," I believe), Walter Abish's Alphabetical Africa, and also paralleled Jackson Mac Low's constraints & procedures.

A precurser to visual poetry's "Movement" might be bpNichol's "Translating Translating Apollinaire," which began as an OuLiPoean series of "translations" and developed into a multimedia, and very visual series.

But TTA isn't the vispo of our canon. It's still heavy on the textual side. I've been scratching my head trying to think of constraint-based visual poetry pieces. And I -I'm sure they exist- I don't know if I've seen them. Or enough. Get to work. Give Marko something to blog about.

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