“The real story is that modern technology and social media make us a much more oral society than we once were. Naturally poetry will be delivered more through the ear than through the eye—just as it was for most of human history, and still is in most of the world’s 6,000 languages, only about a hundred of which are written in any real way.”
“We believe poetry is the ultimately mobile artform with much to say about our past, present, and future.”
Rob Giampietro on Project Projects’s recent redesign of Poets.org
Two great pieces on concrete poetry and typewriter art this week. The first is from Rick Poyner over on Design Observer on the lost art of the typewriter, in celebration of the new book Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology by Barrie Tullett:


  “The use of the typewriter to produce these artworks was a pragmatic decision for the poets of the time,” writes Tullett. “It allowed the author to own the page, to dictate the visual structure without relying on the interpretation of a graphic designer, printer, compositor or editor.” We shouldn’t think of these works as exercises in typographic style, he cautions. On the other hand, there were occasions when a designer produced a full-blown typographic interpretation of the typewriter original, treating it as a kind of score that was most fully realized in performance.


And then Steve Heller has a nice piece in The Atlantic on Marvin and Ruth Sackner, avid collectors of concrete poetry since 1974—five years before they even knew “concrete poetry” was a thing:


  The genre “began about 20 years after the commercial introduction of the typewriter and reached its flowering with the advent of concrete poetry in the 1950s and early 1960s,” Marvin explained, adding that this method allowed an inexpensive but often very labor-intensive solution for widespread distribution of a new poetic form. “Moreover, the ease of overstriking letters and text for new visual and kinetic effects would have been costly and difficult if the poems were typeset during that time.”


The Sackners mention Emmett Williams’s seminal Anthology of Concrete Poetry as opening their eyes of the movement. I posted about the anthology a few months ago, after it was released for the first time since 1967. Williams, of course, is the author of my favorite concrete poem, the fascinating Sweethearts.

(It’s also worth relinking to Alexis Madrigal’s great piece from a few months ago on ASCII art which also finds its route in typewriter art and concrete poetry.

Two great pieces on concrete poetry and typewriter art this week. The first is from Rick Poyner over on Design Observer on the lost art of the typewriter, in celebration of the new book Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology by Barrie Tullett:

“The use of the typewriter to produce these artworks was a pragmatic decision for the poets of the time,” writes Tullett. “It allowed the author to own the page, to dictate the visual structure without relying on the interpretation of a graphic designer, printer, compositor or editor.” We shouldn’t think of these works as exercises in typographic style, he cautions. On the other hand, there were occasions when a designer produced a full-blown typographic interpretation of the typewriter original, treating it as a kind of score that was most fully realized in performance.

And then Steve Heller has a nice piece in The Atlantic on Marvin and Ruth Sackner, avid collectors of concrete poetry since 1974—five years before they even knew “concrete poetry” was a thing:

The genre “began about 20 years after the commercial introduction of the typewriter and reached its flowering with the advent of concrete poetry in the 1950s and early 1960s,” Marvin explained, adding that this method allowed an inexpensive but often very labor-intensive solution for widespread distribution of a new poetic form. “Moreover, the ease of overstriking letters and text for new visual and kinetic effects would have been costly and difficult if the poems were typeset during that time.”

The Sackners mention Emmett Williams’s seminal Anthology of Concrete Poetry as opening their eyes of the movement. I posted about the anthology a few months ago, after it was released for the first time since 1967. Williams, of course, is the author of my favorite concrete poem, the fascinating Sweethearts.

(It’s also worth relinking to Alexis Madrigal’s great piece from a few months ago on ASCII art which also finds its route in typewriter art and concrete poetry.

“Is anything about computer-generated poetry radically new? Mostly, yes. Robopoetics challenge several conventional theories about literature and bolster other claims (like Barthes’ death of the author) with hard, non-theoretical proof. In electronic literature there is no dyadic author and text: the new creative schema is a triad of programmer, robotic author, and text. Robopoetics shifts the burden of creativity onto programming and the selection of source materials. (If you’re feeling contrarian you might argue that this contemporary triad isn’t so different from the classical muse-author-text model, but anyway.)”

Robopoetics: The Complete Operator’s Manual

I’ve been fascinated by computer generated poetry for a few months now (I actually have a bunch of notes for an essay I wanted to write on poetry and programming but this piece is much better than anything I could have done), especially The New York Times continually fascinating Times Haiku and Emmett Williams’s seminal IBM poem.

I finally got a copy of Emmett Williams’s Anthology of Concrete Poetry, thanks to Primary Information, who has reprinted the seminal book for the first time since 1967. I’ve been spending some time looking through it this afternoon was especially drawn to these circular poems by Ferdinand Kriwet, which blend typography, poetry, and sound into an interesting visual:


  He describes these as “Hörtexts, Radio Texts” - radio pieces composed of noise and sound bite and samples. Kriwet’s works are an attempt at communicating an idea of listening to something that constantly surrounds us on short, medium and long wave frequencies. His politically engaged and avant-garde approach was influenced by aesthetic and Conceptual currents in Constructivism, New Music, Beat Generation and Pop.

I finally got a copy of Emmett Williams’s Anthology of Concrete Poetry, thanks to Primary Information, who has reprinted the seminal book for the first time since 1967. I’ve been spending some time looking through it this afternoon was especially drawn to these circular poems by Ferdinand Kriwet, which blend typography, poetry, and sound into an interesting visual:

He describes these as “Hörtexts, Radio Texts” - radio pieces composed of noise and sound bite and samples. Kriwet’s works are an attempt at communicating an idea of listening to something that constantly surrounds us on short, medium and long wave frequencies. His politically engaged and avant-garde approach was influenced by aesthetic and Conceptual currents in Constructivism, New Music, Beat Generation and Pop.

So You Want to be a Writer

by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

“The first thing to understand about poetry is that it comes to you from outside you, in books or in words, but that for it to live, something from within you must come to it and meet it and complete it. Your response with your own mind and body and memory and emotions gives a poem its ability to work its magic; if you give to it, it will give to you, and give plenty.”

The Makers

Everything is made.

History.
Promises.
Wishes.
Friends.

Computers.
Films.
Quilts.
Shakespeare.

Theories.
Tools.

Our habits.
Our homes.
Our relationships.

Our future.

The future
is something we make.
The world isn’t done yet.
We can make tomorrow
better.

There’s more work to do.

Words Create Worlds

There’s a small building with a black awning on 3rd Street in the Lower East Side. You’d think nothing of it if it wasn’t for the elaborate paintings that cover the front wall, making a stark divide from the brick facades surrounding it.

If you happened to wander inside this building on a Friday night, you’d find yourself in a small crowded brick room. The lights would be dimmed, the bar packed, and people of every age and background pushing their way towards a small platform that sits against the side wall. Large portraits hang askew across the brick wall. An energy pulsates through the room. They say there is no other place in the world where people line the streets outside on a Friday night to watch poetry. But at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, this is a normal Friday.

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How to Build an Owl

by Kathleen Lynch

  1. Decide you must.
  2. Develop deep respect
    for feather, bone, claw.
  3. Place your trembling thumb
    where the heart will be:
    for one hundred hours watch
    so you will know
    where to put the first feather.
  4. Stay awake forever.
    When the bird takes shape
    gently pry open its beak
    and whisper into it: mouse.
  5. Let it go.

(via jackcheng)