Thursday, December 31, 2020

Vizpo Dahlings of 2020

 I think it’s fair to say that 2020 was a shite year for most things but a great year for visual poetry. Here are a few folks that stood out in the pandemic year and made my world a better, more joyful, imaginative and thoughtful place.

 Joakim Norling: Timglaset Editions (Sweden) is dedicated to the publication of visual poetry. Joakim treats the work of the visual poets with great care and thought. Three works that I return to again and again for their strength, imagination, and memorability:

 Language, Lines and Poetry by Dona Mayora

Mothers’ Milk by Sacha Archer

Asemic Walks: 50 templates for pataphysical inspection, now in its 2nd printing by Hartmut Abendschein

Anna Hedenrud, on ameocha

Clara Daneri & Anthony Etherin: Penteract Press (UK)

In 2020 the press has published a number of great titles, including Gary Barwin’s colorful and playful Ampers&thropocene, Read(writ)ing Words: A Meandering Material Dialogue by Rachel Smith and Myth & Metamorphosis, which includes Clara’s intricately made Llud and Llefelys, Sacha Archer’s Narcissus and Even the Best Laid Plans, Wunjo & Haglaz by SJ Fowler, Gary Barwin’s Two Water Sigils, for Rita Wong, Dani Spinosa’s Megara and Eurydice, Maria Celin Val’s Athena (Wisdom), the Labyrinths of Rachel Smith and Luke Bradford and James Knight and his Minotaur pieces, not to mention more books that I wish I’d had the money to purchase. A shout out to Anthony for his astounding palindromes which I guess can’t be considered visual poetry…or can they? 😊

 They also have a great podcast with favourite and informative episodes such as the Visual Poetry panel episode with Laura Kerr, Derek Beaulieu and Rachel Smith, and the episodes with Gary Barwin, Kate Siklosi and Dani Spinosa. They’ve had 18 episodes so far and I intend to listen to earlier ones that I have missed too.

Dani Spinosa (Canada) for her engaging book OO: Typewriter Poems published by Invisible Books, and To Whom Shall I Sing published by Noir: Z.

Kate Siklosi (Canada) for her beautiful collection , 6 feuilles, published by Noir:Z and the work elsewhere, which is activist and environmental as well as being beautiful and well-made. Kate and Dani are the proprietresses of Gap Riot Press, which has started to publish some memorable and beautiful visual poetry including PSW’s ON LINEatureS and sophie anne edwards river writes.

 Sacha Archer (Canada), for Mother’s Milk, obviously, but also for all the creative and fascinating work he does, from video to the paper pushing pieces scanned and posted on Instagram and FB. He’s also the publisher of Simulacrum Press, a press which has published numerous great works of visual poetry and other stuff too.

 Petra Schulze-Wollgast (Germany) for her own work but also for ToCall, a Mimeograph magazine with contributors from all over the world.

 Women Asemic Writers and Visual Poets Global (WAAVe) the powerhouse group on FB helmed by the delightful Kristine Snodgrass. I love being part of this group.

 Satu Kaikkonen (Finland) who gifted me several gorgeous minimal chapbooks this year and whose work is stunning and beautiful as always.

 Renee Gladman (USA) for One Long Black Sentence (Image Text Ithaca Press) with Anindex by Fred Moten, a creative, playful and beautiful book of asemic drawings, grids, lines and architecture that I received as a gift from a dear friend and that spark my imagination every time I open the book.

 Ava Hofmann, (USA) visual poet and editor of Sporazine, a journal of experimental literature written by trans people. I love Ava’s work, which I see mostly through Twitter, but this year her poem [A WOMAN WANDERED INTO A THICKET] published by Puritan Magazine blew everyone away. Sporazine’s 1st issue was an eye-opener for me, including some writers and visual poets I had heard of before, such as Zefyr Lisowski through Ghost City Press, and some who were new to me, such as essa may ranapiri.

 Gregory Betts (Canada) for Sweet Forme from Apothecary Archives is a delight of whimsy and wonder and colour. Is it vispo? Why yes, yes it is.

 Astra Papachristodoulou (UK) for her own work and for her Poet Atlas exhibits, which are fascinating and push the boundaries of visual poetry.

 Silje Ree (Norway/UK) for her work and also for her multilingual exhibits of visual poetry through Mellom Press established this year.

 Sarah J Sloat for Hotel Almighty (Sarabande Books) a delightful erasure book of Stephen King’s Misery.

 Gary Barwin, (Canada) who is always pushing the boundaries of visual poetry and everything else with all of his work, his videos and books and responses to others’ work.

 Derek Beaulieu (Canada) for his work and for his continued promotion and attempts at raising awareness about the world of concrete/visual poetry, both its history and contemporary work. On the Penteract Press podcast visual poetry panel episode I mentioned earlier, Derek said something that I found inspiring and motivating: he talked about the need for writers and artists to constantly push and challenge themselves. This is something that I think is essential for my own practice.

 Kyle Flemmer, the Blasted Tree (Canada) for all the work he does with the press and this year for Concrete and Crystal by sophie anne edwards (gifted to me by a dear friend), his own publication of a clematis leaf in homage to Kate Siklosi (Purple rain: 100 Petals for Kate Siklosi), and Ben Robinson’s Without Form, which translates the numbers of the Bible into visual poetry. I am so delighted to see more visual poetry with the Bible.

 All of the women in Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979 published by Primary Information. a long overdue book and acknowledgement of great work by these women and more who were paving the way (groan!) for future women visual poets, including me! The effects of erasure of women in visual poetry, literature, art, film etc…are long lasting, depressing and inhibiting.

 Katy Telling for her wonderful interviews with visual poets and others, including Sascha Aktar whose visual poetry collection Not Been Seen As Such published by IceFloe Press earlier this year looks exquisite.

 Richard Capener, The Babel Tower Notice Board (UK) for including and promoting and introducing me to some great visual poetry such as Labyrinth: In Search of the Answer I and II by Rachel Smith, Madelaine Culver, Katy Telling, T.W. Selvey, Maggs Vibo, Max Shirley and Cat Chong, not to mention the playful and experimental work of the entire first year of TBTNB.

 No doubt there are numerous vizpo dahlings I haven’t had a chance to learn about yet. I could easily mention all of the visual poets in the latest issue of Experiment-O for example. To those of you I haven’t mentioned, give me a shout and links to your great work and others so that we can all learn more together.   I look forward to more vizpo dahlilngs in 2021.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Vispo Bible: Acts from the New Testament Now Completed

Acts 27

I began Acts in February and completed it today, December 19, 2020. That makes a total of 319 pages since beginning in June, 2015. For Acts, I began to use Adobe Illustrator, moving from Photoshop and that slowed me down a bit. I had to learn new software and also figure out how to glitch it for the types of transformations I do to text for the Vispo Bible. While there are repetitive processes involved in using software to create visual poetry, I find that at least for this work, I still need to bring a sense of exploration, whimsy and imagination to the work. 

I feel that the pandemic made it difficult to focus. I also began a new part of the Vispo Bible, not based on including every verse and chapter from every book, but rather taking individual passages and using them as the source text for So Many Silenced, So Many Unnamed, which is a project to turn misogynistic text in the Bible into affirmations of women's strength and resilience via shapes which resembles women's bodies, many wearing dresses, corsets and other garments associated with women as a type of reclamation. We will see what 2021 brings. 


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Working with Adobe Illustrator; Progress on the Vispo Bible


Acts 11 from the New Testament

Photoshop has become a pain in the ass, constantly upgrading and making it difficult to work with. Since Adobe is forcing me to relearn everything anyway, I've been learning how to make visual poems in Illustrator, which I have been told by fellow visual poets is a good tool for such. Since the summer I have been making little visual poems, of one letter or one word, going back almost to my early days of working with MS Paint in 2005 or so, when i focused on an individual letter or word. But I've finally gotten to the point where I can work with whole blocks of text again, so I made the next visual poem in the Vispo Bible: Acts 11 from the New Testament. I began Acts in February of this year, just before the pandemic. Many other things distracted me, but mostly it was the annoyance of Photoshop's constant upgrades that slowed my progress. I feel now that I can resume work on Acts and hope to have it completed by the end of this year, all being well.

For those interested, or perhaps keeping track, I've said that the Vispo Bible is a life's work. I began it in 2015. Here's the progress so far:

This year I have also taken a side trip, going through the Bible for passages about women, both named and unnamed, and started a new section of the Vispo Bible called So Many Silenced, So Many Unnamed. You can see examples here on the Pi Review whose editor kindly published the visual poems, along with poems on the women of the Bible. 

I have plans to look thematically at various subjects in the Bible and recently made this piece entitled Leviathan, but made in Photoshop in the summer:

Job 41: 31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.

I haven't been submitting new chapbook manuscripts for the Vispo Bible. I want So Many Silenced, So Many Unnamed to be a trade book in full colour. I don't expect it to be ready for some time, but if you have any ideas on who might publish it, I'd love to hear them.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

The Vispo Bible: Revelation published by Timglaset Editions is now available as a free pdf

 Timglaset Editions has kindly made free pdfs of sold out books, including Revelation, from the Vispo Bible. take a look here. there's a vast catalogue of joyous work. Revelation was published in November, 2018. almost two years ago. so happy that Joakim Norling accepted my query. it was the start of a great friendship and mutual appreciation of visual poetry.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

League of Canadian Poets features Exodus 13 from the Vispo Bible in Poetry Pause

 thanks to the League of Canadian Poets for their support of the Vispo Bible. 

Check out Exodus 13 here.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

vispo haiku

 here are 3 vispo haiku. i have been learning how to use Adobe Illustrator of late. normally i work with Photoshop, but thought i'd give Illustrator a go. two women inspired my attempts at making visual poetry haiku: Dona Mayoora who has been making asemic haiku, and Catherine Vidler who has been making and sharing hers on Instagram. as always, i appreciate the inspiration. of course, these are inspired most of all by 2020 and end tymes.

1. state of the country ; 2. growing anxiety; 3. end of the empire.

Friday, August 21, 2020

So Many Silenced, So Many Unnamed - a new section within the Vispo Bible - recently published on the Pi Review

 thanks to John Whittaker of the new online magazine for asking me to submit work to help debut the site. i'm happy to follow friend and visual poet, derek beaulieu and look forward to seeing what comes  next.

you can see excerpts, which include both visual poems and poem-poems (not sure what else to call non visual poems) here.

So Many Silenced, So Many Unnamed is a new section i'm working on for the Vispo Bible that uses passages from the Bible and addresses misogyny, silencing,  and erasure of women in the Bible and how scripture is used to justify the ongoing violence against women, BIPOC and LGBTQ folk. 

Note that i've been playing with the title and have changed it from its original, "So Many Are Silent, So Many Unnamed."

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

not vispo but photos

my series of photos, the End of Days is now up on the Watch Your Head site. thanks to Kathryn Mockler and the editors for publishing my photos. Watch Your Head is an online site that publishes works devoted to climate crisis and climate justice. a separate anthology of writing and art will be published from Coach House Books and is available for pre-order.

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Vispo Bible: Matthew to be published by Knife Fork Book in 2021

chufffed to announce that Knife Fork Book will be publishing Matthew in 2021, all being well. Knife Fork Book is a publisher and poetry book store and community inspiration in Toronto, Ontario. My work has also appeared in Not Your Best, an anthology of visual poetry. This will be the seventh chapbook from the Vispo Bible. Below, here is Matthew 7

Friday, August 14, 2020

Street Cake Magazine has published Exodus 18 from the Vispo Bible

 thanks to editors Nikki Dudley & Trini Decombe for including Exodus 18 in Street Cake Magazine. 

to see where all of the work from the Vispo Bible has been published so far, please go to

Thursday, July 16, 2020

No Place Like Home - a series

No Place Like Home 1, and 2 are digital manipulations of a photograph of the first house I lived in from age 4 to 8, in a small town in Ontario, Canada with my parents and siblings. The text is a reference to Dorothy’s repeated refrain from the Wizard of Oz when she clicks her ruby red shoes and says, “there’s no place like home.” The house here is reminiscent of the trauma, fear and confusion that represented home for me as a child and for many others.

No Place Like Home 3 depicts the many rooms of the house, which did not provide safety, with the text representing the lack of security a child is made to feel when her love and trust is manipulated and abused.

All pieces were created using Photoshop.

And a side note: for many years, home meant nothing to me but fear until I was able to come to terms with my childhood and of not having the kind of home I had heard about from tv or in films. Not everyone does. “According to self-reported data from the 2014 General Social Survey on Victimization (GSS), one-third (33%) of Canadians aged 15 and older experienced some form of maltreatment during childhood. Child maltreatment includes physical and/or sexual abuse before the age of 15 by someone aged 18 or older, as well as witnessing violence by a parent or guardian against another adult.”

Friday, May 15, 2020

Leviticus 5 in Poem Atlas' Escapisms Exhibit (May 15 - June 5, 2020)

Thanks to Poem Atlas for including Leviticus 5 in this stunning exhibit. I am delighted to share the virtual page with fellow visual poets. 

Where does escapism fit in? When I work on these pieces, I perform several repeated actions in Photoshop. I get lost in both the meticulous nature of the process and the creative possibilities. The pieces I'm submitting show how colour and layering turn the text into something material and depart from the original, yet somehow maintain some of its flavour. I have grapheme synaesthesia so that words, letters and numbers evoke colour for me. It is a satisfying feeling for me to be able to match the colours in my head with the tone I perceive from the source text based on the words and the style of the text. I become mesmerized in a way. I often keep going until I feel a kind of shiver, as if I've done something magical, but I don't feel at all as if I'm in control of the result. I love this feeling.

The Vispo Bible: Leviticus 5 (2017): source text from, King James Version. Text translated into visual poetry using Photoshop. I translated the ritual, sin, and blood in this chapter. Something tree like, hard, bare, weathered and bloody resulted.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Genesis 33 in Mellom Press Online Exhibit, Translations: May 11 to June 7, 2020

Thanks to Silje Ree who will be including Genesis 33 from the Vispo Bible in the upcoming online exhibit, starting  next week.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Where can you find work from the Vispo Bible (as of February 3, 2021)

i'm going to use this blog entry to provide links to the Vispo Bible's publications for all who have asked or who might want to know:


THE VISPO BIBLE is a life's work to translate every chapter, every book, every verse of the Bible into visual poetry. I began the project in 2015, and as of May 1, 2020, i have completed 300 pages: Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Levitucus, Numbers, Ruth, Esther, Deuteronomy,
New Testament Acts 1-8 so far/ currently in progress,Matthew,Mark,Romans, John I, II, III, Jude, Revelation.

In 2018, I received funding from the Ontario Arts Council based on a recommendation from Coach House Books for the Vispo Bible.

1. The Vispo Bible: One Woman Recreates the Bible as Visual Poetrypresented as part of Kanada Koncrete Material Poetries in the Digital Age, University of Ottawa, May 4-6, 2018

This is my general overview of the project.

2. The powerpoint presentation of the work included in the talk. I've done more pieces since, but this is the bulk of the work.

3. Glue, String and Binder Rings, an essay I wrote on how various publishers are responding to the challenge of publishing the Vispo Bible in print. Published in the Babel Tower Notice Board. {link is no longer active, i will provide a new link when it appears}

4. YouTube Videos


Acts 2 - layer by layer

5 Chapbooks and Broadsides

6. Anthologies

Judith: Women Making Visual Poetry (Timglaset Editions, 2021)
WAAVe Global Gallery 2020 (Hysterical Books, 2021)

7. Print Magazines


The Pi Review (August, 2020)

Streetcake Magazine Issue 68, Part 1 (August, 2020)

Escapisms, Poem Atlas (May 15 to June 5, 2020)

Translations, Mellom Press (May 11 to June 9, 2020)

University of Ottawa, English Department presentation by Claire Farley, 2016


Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Vispo Bible: Acts from the New Testament

I have begun to work on the Acts of the Apostles from the New Testament. For Acts, I will be saving each individual layer separately.

Excerpts from the Vispo Bible have been exhibited in Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor,  Ontario. Publications include

Romans, where is the river, 2018, Toronto, Ontario
Revelation, Timglaset Editions, 2018, Sweden
Ruth, Simulacrum Press, 2018, Hamilton, Ontario
Mark, above/ground press, 2018, Ottawa, Ontario
Esther, Puddles of Sky Press, 2017, Kingston, Ontario
Revelation 20, No Press, 2017, Calgary, Alberta
Leviticus XII, Penteract Press, 2017 UK

Additional individual pieces have appeared in h&; our teeth, illiterature, Brave New Word (Ukraine), Dreamland Magazine, untethered,,  Chaudiere Books NPM 2018, and To Call No 1  from Plaugolt Satzwechhsler in Germany,  not your best visual poetry from knife fork book. (2019) and Train Concrete Journal and blog (2019/2020). 

Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council 2018 Recommender Grant for Writers program for funding part of the creation of the Vispo Bible 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Vispo Bible: Matthew 8, 9 and 10 in Train : journal of concrete poetry

thanks to DW Adams for including three chapters from the Vispo Bible in Train. Another piece was also included on the blog and DW was kind enough to interview me about my visual poetry and other things here.

Friday, January 17, 2020

a hand made visual poem featured in Guest 8: Femmecraft

G U E S T 8 , the latest in the above/ground press chapbooks edited by guests is now out.
For this issue, the editors are the wonderful Kate Siklosi and Dani Spinosa, who sent out a call for femmecraft, hand made work. I loved this idea. I am pleased that my stoneware NO bowl is in the chapbook. You can pick up a copy through above/ground press, and you should...because there is intriguing work therein. My contribution is a handbuilt stoneware bowl in the form of a coil and the word “NO,” which I also made from stoneware. I was thinking about craft, which is often dismissed as "women’s work," as if that is somehow pejorative, and often not considered to be art. I was thinking about resistance to this idea and resistance to women’s empowerment and creativity. I thought the call represented a celebration of feminist resistance to patriarchal dismissal and suppression of the force and creativity of imagination.
This is one of four imperfect pieces I submitted for consideration. They are cracked and chipped and made wrong. When I first started to take pottery workshops in the 90s, my instructor told me my work was charmingly uneven. I replied that this was much like my character. I think handmade work can resist this insistence on perfection and therefore show evidence of tender humanity. As T.J. Burnett said, “Perfection is a second-rate idea.”

and here are the other pieces from the series: