Friday, February 25, 2011

Wisconsin Crackdown

As important and revolutionary as the events in Libya and Egypt are, I'm wondering if North American media are diverting attention to North Africa at the expense of one of the biggest stories regarding labour and collective rights occurring right now in Wisconsin.

There has been almost no mainstream coverage of the draconian crackdown on union rights by Governor Scott Walker, nor reports on one of the biggest labour protests in recent history (100, 000 protesters alone on Tuesday and more expected this weekend).

Democracy Now has the most footage and interviews:

In solidarity.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

ICSI: Advance Glance

The publication date for I Can Say Interpellation, my new collection of detourned children's poems, is moving closer (Toronto launch, May 24th). For the past while I've been very excited to see the illustrations that the multi-talented Clelia Scala has been producing for the book, and I wanted to share one as a sneak-peek for the final publication. I'm extremely happy to be working with Clelia, who is co-publisher of In Case of Emergency Press, as well as being a sculptor and Venetian-style mask-maker. The above illustration is for the poem "Goodbye Moon," and there'll be another 10 images in the final book that work to complement and complicate the poems.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Etc Phrase #16

Finished the Etc Phrases sequence this week. Working on the Idiosyntactic poems now...

Etc Phrase #16
Ebbing the ineffable.
The phonics of the palimpsest.
Expletive F exclamation.
Floating or floundering.
No horizon line.
B coming or being.
Thorny thrownness.
E F Geworfenheit.
Still present despite the presence.
Not waving but sounding.

Friday, February 04, 2011


Preparing to teach a unit on Concrete and Sound Poetry for my avant-garde class this week (one of my favourite sections: how can you lose with Finlay, Phillips, Antin, and the Four Horsemen?) I was thrilled to come across the reference online that Eugen Gomringer had just celebrated his 86th birthday on Sunday and was still creating art.

Gomringer's "From Line to Constellation" manifesto is the source for one of the best definitions of first wave Concrete Poetry, as well as containing the coolest German word that I try to work into any conversation on visual poetry: Denkgegenstanddenkspiel.

"So the new poem is simple and can be perceived visually as a whole as well as in its parts. It becomes an object to be both seen and used: an object containing thought but made concrete through play-activity (denkgegenstanddenkspiel), its concern is with brevity and conciseness. It is memorable and imprints itself upon the mind as a picture. Its objective element of play is useful to modern [humanity], whom the poet helps through [his/ her] special gift for this kind of play-activity."

Read the whole manifesto here. Incidentally, Gomringer is also credited with one of most controversial statements about Concrete Poetry: "Concrete poetry has nothing to do with comic strips" (cited in Mary Ellen Solt's Concrete Poetry: A World View, 10)

And I love this playful photo of Gomringer in front of his most famous piece: