the new concrete: an online course in attentive poetics

The editors of The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century, Victoria Bean and Chris McCabe, will be leading an online course for The Poetry School, beginning on 15th September 2015.


The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century (Hayward Publishing, 2015)



One of the narratives of visual poetry since the 1950s is that the form has become one that can be taken up by any poet at some stage of their writing life. The concrete movement had such a strong impact that it's impossible not to write poetry and to consider, at some point, how these techniques might be put into practice in a particular poem or sequence.

Edwin Morgan is significant here. His work is remarkable for its variety, dexterity and energy. I have always felt that his concrete poetry allowed him to get right down into the syllables, particles and phonemes of poetic language which he could later put to such effective use in his non-concrete work. Like an arachnophile coming back from years of living with insects the poet who's immersed in visual poems hears the rustling underwiring in the ecosystem of language. Options and possibilities appear on every level of poetic play. The poet's understanding of the micro elements that poetry can explore  – including space and erasure – gives them a forensic eye for maximising each element of their poems.

When Morgan began his poem ‘The Loch Ness Monster’s Song’ (in  Glasgow to Saturn, 1973) with:


Sssnnnwhuffffll?

he had developed an instinctive awareness of how the compacting of consonants can accelerate the sound and sense of a poem; he had explored these techniques to the nano-level in a poem like ‘Starryveldt’ (from The Second Life, 1968) written over half a decade earlier:

starryveldt
      slave
southvenus
      serve

Concrete poetry allowed him to become an architect of all kinds of poetic structures and gave him the ability to design the internal corridors and finials of his poems with a jeweler’s eye-piece. It’s this approach  to writing poems that Victoria and I will be helping students develop in our online course The New Concrete for The Poetry School. 

We will look closely at letters: their shapes and visual impact. We will take Hansjorg Mayer's The Last Alphabet as inspiration. We all know what a letter 'e' looks like, represented beautifully in Mayer's piece here:
Hansjorg Mayer, from The Last Alphabet

Mayer then takes the insides of the letters, inverting the white space inside the black print, to play with the pattern left behind – making these new letters forms appear as compellingly other:

Hansjorg Mayer, from The Last Alphabet

The white space around poems will be looked at, giving primacy to the idea that the slightest mark or piece of type can transform blankness into galactic meaning. Simon Barraclough does this brilliantly in his poem 'Tromso':

Simon Barraclough, 'Tromso' in The New Concrete and Sunspots (Penned in the Margins)

Movement will be looked at too; through poetryfilm but also through how the kinetic poem uses placement and overlay to create a sense of visual shift – as Paula Claire does here:

Paula Claire, 'A Sonnet in Motion'

And don't let the black and white minimalism of the above suggest that there will be no colour. We will be looking at poets who've used paint, lithograph printing and computer graphics to arrest the eye through patternings and juxtapositions of colour – as in this work by Augusto de Campos:



Augusto de Campos, 'Sem Saida'


Victoria and I have been researching this book for three years and editing for the last two: there are conversations with over 100 poets and artists from around the world that we will be drawing on to inspire those taking the course. The book is the launching pad for discussion, idea-sharing and offers the inspiration for the writing of new work. Like Morgan, what you take from such close-up attention to poetic language will reinforce and energise everything you go on to write. Which is why Morgan continued to work with visual poems throughout his life, creating this curious code poem a few years before he died; its curious made-up language of Runic and Cyrillic returns us to the idea that visual poetry emerges from humankind's first languages and that the merging of the visual and textual in visual poetry is a form potent with current possibilities:

Edwin Morgan, untitled, 2001, from The New Concrete


Book your place on the online course The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century here

The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century is available to buy from Hayward Publishing here 

Comments

madhu said…
Very nice article.
Manu Sharma said…
Healthisgod is the only complete health and wellness website that you may describe as it yours. We created a site that introduces the collection of health and lifestyle information supported by reliable content providers and genuine user reviews. This is a sincere effort on our part to bring forth a user experience which is engaging, moving, and interactive. Visit for more- Health is God

JOIN US HERE said…
You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

무료야설
VISIT US said…
I truly appreciate this article post. Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

오피헌터
ENJOY HERE said…
My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right. This post truly made my day.타이마사지
BEST SITE said…
"MY PROGRAMMER IS TRYING TO CONVINCE ME TO MOVE TO .NET
FROM PHP. I HAVE ALWAYS DISLIKED THE IDEA BECAUSE OF THE EXPENSES.
BUT HE'S TRYING NONE THE LESS. I'VE BEEN USING WORD PRESS ON A NUMBER OF WEBSITES
FOR ABOUT A YEAR AND AM NERVOUS ABOUT SWITCHING TO ANOTHER PLATFORM.
I HAVE HEARD GREAT THINGS ABOUT BLOG ENGINE IS THERE A
WAY I CAN TRANSFER ALL MY WORD PRESS POSTS INTO IT? ANY KIND OF HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!"

안마
racesite.pro said…
This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. 경마사이트

reelgame.site said…
I have been reading for the past two days about your blogs and topics, still on fetching! Wondering about your words on each line was massively effective. 슬롯머신
Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback. 스포츠토토


it’s awesome and I found this one informative
바카라사이트
Thank you for providing a good quality article.
온라인카지노
Hard to ignore such an amazing article like this. You really amazed me with your writing talent. Thank you for sharing again.
스포츠토토
Excellent Blog! I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this post.
카지노사이트
roulettesitetop said…
Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We've ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Magnificent. 카지노사이트
It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. 온라인카지노
casinosite.zone said…
I have read this put up and if I may I desire to recommend you some interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles regarding this article. I wish to learn more issues approximately it! 카지노사이트
yadongbiz said…
You’re very creative; I love your work stuff! I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read 한국야동

Click this link
야설

yahanvideonet said…
Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! 한국야동

Click this link
야설

koreayadongcom said…
Hey very cool site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find numerous useful information here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. 야동

Click this link
국산야동

japanyadongcom said…
I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head 국산야동

Click this link
한국야동

chinayadongnet said…
I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. 한국야동

Click this link
야동

Popular posts from this blog

Election Special, Lingua Franca

talk to that & other poems