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.

No comments:

Post a Comment