Plur·al·ity Press sits down with Lissa Roads and Liam Clarke on how Word on the Rocks is the kind of reading series that features work "from the underbelly of poetry". It is a space where what is shared is not exempt from challenge. Join the conversation below.
Shayna: Ok, so we’re live. Lissa Roads and Liam Clarke, with an “e,” [are] here interviewing with Plurality Press at the newly renovated, newly launched, opened 414 Tavern, yes?
Lissa Roads: Tavern 414, yes.
S: Yes, yes, yes. What was it? This past Thursday was...?
LR: Yes, was our grand opening.
S: Grand opening. It was packed.
S: I couldn’t find the bar. The bar is pretty huge, so, that tells you a lot. We are interviewing them because Lissa Roads is the host of a new poetry…
S: Showcase called “Word on the Rocks,” and Liam is one of the two features. The other feature is…?
LR: D.J. Actually, it is Duke Donaldson.
S: Duke Donaldson. Ok, great. So, we were talking earlier—and it is hard to talk right now over the chocolate chip cookies--
S: But, I was saying, “Well, there’s a bunch of poetry events happening in venues and running shows. Why another?” And then you replied…? [nodding to Lissa]
LR: Well there’s—I think there is a lot of different kinds of performance spaces, but for the most part poetry is made to be family-friendly and [made to be] events where everybody can show up, and it doesn’t matter who shows up. Everyone can enjoy poetry—which is totally true because poetry has so many facets. But, then there are those people who don’t want to be politically correct, and they don’t want to be—want to have to be careful about their words. And they want to just be able to express themselves from the first thing that they wrote down. If that is a swear word, if it’s something that people are going to find offensive, then come up to the poet later and say, “Hey, I found that offensive. Can we talk about it?” But don’t be afraid to hear it.
LR: And, so, now this can be a space where people can say that, and it can be okay. It’s at night. It’s more of a relaxed atmosphere. It is because we are in sports-bar-like, tavern atmosphere. We’re going to have whiskey specials. We’re going to have $4 appetizers for people to enjoy, and kind of be able to share something outside of, “Look at my blue ribbon project.” This is more of the underbelly of poetry, if anything.
Lissa: This is more of the underbelly of poetry, if anything.
S: So, then it brings me to a question for you, Liam. Why were you looking for another venue? What about your poetry was not fitting with the already available poetry events?
LC: Well, it goes back to what Lissa just mentioned. I found that a lot of poetry open mics, poetry events in Buffalo were very Kumbayah-esque. I’ve never been one for that. I mean my idols, as far as poets and writers go, [are] Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Ginsberg. And they all wrote very politically incorrect things at the time where they were around. So, I kind of wanted a space where if there was something that we didn’t like, it was not going to be met with blind acceptance. You know? I wanted more of a—kind of like what is reminiscent of what goes on in our heads when we write. It’s very tumultuous, very chaotic. You know it’s just that I wanted to find something real as opposed to nice.
S: The way that I am hearing it in my mind is that the difference between this event and another event is, let’s say, “We're going to have a discussion. Everything that someone says is going to be valuable, valid and okay,” versus, “we are going to say what is on our mind. We may not like what each other has to say, but we are committed to being in a space and disagreeing, if we disagree. [Pause.] Agreeing when we agree. Or having whatever reaction we are having to what is being shared.”
LC: I might sound repetitive when I say this, or whatever; it’s—I wanted something real as opposed to produced. I wanted real reactions. I—whether it is a good reaction or a bad reaction, whatever it is. I think in today’s culture. People get upset over the smallest things, and I kind of wanted to confront that. I wanted something real. I wanted how you talk to your friends at a bar. Somebody might say something you don’t like, so you say something about it. In poetry events that I have experienced—and that’s not—I am not trying to say, talk down to those events. Those are just—specific people can go to those. I just wanted something more realistic as opposed to just being candy-coated like, “Oh yeah, you did a good job. You did a good job. It was great. It was great." No, I wanted something—I wanted real. I wanted real.
S: Lissa, you have done a lot of events in the Buffalo poetry community. Can you share with us what is going to be really distinctive about Word on the Rocks, and then how does that fit into where you are in your conceptual development of your own poetry?
LR: Being able to spend the last year—it’s actually just been over a year that I have been involved in the live poetry scene in Buffalo. I’ve written--
S: Only a year?!
Liam: I wanted something real as opposed to produced
LR: Poetry—yeah! I’ve written poetry for a long time, but I was never performing poetry out at open mics and finding different people who wanted to perform poetry or who were interested in poetry until last year this time. [Last] March was actually the first Wordism event I went to. And that is what got me attracted to the, “Oh, people do this? They get together in rooms and are allowed to perform in front of each other, together, and people will come and listen and compliment you at the end, and tell you, ‘(A) That could have been better.’” I did not know that existed. And, so, it has been awesome getting into those spaces and finding different people who host in order to see how they host, what kinds of crowds they bring in. I think that we have very strong and active academic people who are studying poetry and are a part of school programs. And then we have a very strong slam poetry scene, which is all performance-based. What I have been working for is—in the last 6-8 months of still being in Buffalo and trying to figure things out, new things out, is—there’s got to be a bridge built between, where we’re no longer students. We’re no longer writers or poets. We’re just human beings who, maybe, can speak in lyric or prose. Or short—you know, I don’t want to use the word poetry—but to be able to actually speak in rhyme. Or just free thought, journal entry type, diary-istic stuff. Because those are the kinds of things—the kinds of conversations we like to have with each other that students [of poetry may not]—we maybe sisters or brothers or family in the poetry scene—but our poetry does not always sound like that [with regards to students of poetry].
S: Are you talking about an unedited space?
LR: To—to a point, but that is
S: Whatever that means?
LR: Yeah, yeah, whatever that means to the artists featured. Because that is the other thing; this is not going to be, "You have to be that kind of poet." I am not only going to feature beat poets. I am not only going to feature literary poets. I’m not only going to—what I would actually love to do after all this—[interrupting thought]. For this first one—because it was inspired by Duke and Liam—the whole Bukowski, beat poet thing is something that I know I can do. It’s something I enjoy doing. It is an era I respect as far as the writers and some of the ideas that came out of it; I want to participate in that and be true to it. But in future ones, I want to do themes—and have; there was [a point] actually, really at the last Ground & Sky I was at—where we started talking about doing (because Liam’s friend read one of his poems [that was] very gender specific to a poem being written by a man, [from a] male standpoint), I’d love to do a show where a female poet would read the male poets stuff and a male poet would read all the female poets stuff. Because, how strong would that be to get a message across that gender is a construct
Shayna: Do you feel...that we are running the same poetry format? Somebody’s on a lectern.
S: Do you feel that what you are doing is trying to create a more dynamic space? That things are too stifled? That we are running the same poetry format? Somebody’s on a lectern; they’re reading for five minutes; and they sit down and another person rises…
LR: It’s formulaic.
LR. It’s formulaic. And when you find something that works—the Screening Room does it all the time because they know they could get a crowd. They know they could get [people] to come and see these feature performers and have these connections between professors and teachers, and poets and writers and different groups of people who are writing, and that is great. I don’t think that there is nothing wrong with those events. Again, this is not taking anything away from them. It is adding something new into the pot. And saying, “[There is] this option for this as well as that;" [one] might [want to] expand things a little bit and go out on a branch a little bit more because there isn’t a formula to be held to.
LC: Well, I respect that a lot because, last year I lived in L.A. I was living in Santa Monica. As a writer, I wanted to try to find a place to do a reading, to expand what I was already just doing in a dark room with a bottle of whisky by myself in front of the computer screen. I wanted to actually interact with other people. What I found in L.A. is that it was very segmented. It was—there was only poetry for slam poetry. There was only poetry for specific things, and there really wasn’t something that combined everything. There was either if you didn’t fit into that mold then you weren’t going to fit in. You’re not going to be—it’s not that you are not going to be welcome, but it wouldn’t work. So, what I respect about Lissa trying to do this is that she is trying to bring it all together as opposed to segment it even more, which I find is happening in Buffalo way too much.
S: There is segmentation—that happens. I want to mention something, and then I want to ask you two about how you met and why did you signed on to do something as crazy as this? But, so I was looking up grants for artists, and there are specific grantors, funders who don’t want you to be associated with a university or a full-time student at this moment; this grant is particular to artists outside of academia. I think that those funders’ intention is to bring the gap between access. There’s an access issue here. Sometimes [at] the older events that are more established, some of those folks are former teachers, former professionals; there is a certain access that they have. So, what I hear is that this [Word of the Rocks] is a space of challenging—for open access. Now…I would ask, how did you guys meet?
Tune in the first week in May to find out Lissa and Liam's answer to the last question and hear Part 2 of their interview. For the second part of all Part I interviews, return the first week in May—as the blog finishes out National Poetry Month with added content on the intersection of poetry and visual arts.
4/13/2016 0 Comments
Plur·al·ity Press sits down with Annette Daniels Taylor, grant award recipient from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA ), on how her work re-conceptualizes what an avant garde artist looks like and works to dispel the myth that mass audiences are not interested in L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry. We are interviewing at Plur·al·ity Press' office space at the D!G Innovation Center, and there, in the next section, are start-ups pitching to a large audience--hence the applause strewn throughout the recording. Join the conversation below.
Shayna: Plurality Press is here with Annette Daniels Taylor interviewing her about all of the stunning visual poetry, literary arts that she does; not only in her own time but also with the community, with youth. We have a lot to—there’s a lot here. [Laughter]. I don’t think everyone is seeing what I am seeing. So, I have three rows, four columns. There is a fifth—fourth row hanging above with student work, various kinds of erasure poetry and in the last column are—one, two, thee—four chapbooks of poetry.
Annette: We have one more. That is one of my favorites.
S: Five! Five chapbooks of poetry.
A: And I never really say that. I never say, “Oh, I have five chapbooks,” because [I show] mostly student work. [Arranging the chapbooks]. I just have to arrange them into a book. [Laughter].
S: You know what? Here’s why I—the glee and excitement in my voice is because I remember your work as theater, as [solely] literary. I did not know about the visual component to your work.
A: It’s a lot of fun.
S: If you could talk about how you came to this genre of poetry, that would be wonderful.
A: [In character; in reaction to applause] “Oh, thank you. Thank you very much!”
S: Oh yeah, the ambiance.
A: Thank you. I didn’t expect that. [Responding to question:] When My husband and I first either got married or moved in together or one of them—because he is a painter, he would try to get me to paint. I was thinking about this recently, today, that I was always hesitant because he, as far as I was concerned, he was master of paint, and I was like, “Oh, no, no, no, I can’t do that.” So, we’ve been married for about, almost 25 years, and he’s always trying to get me to make marks.
A: Thank you. I really enjoy the black-out poems. I started working on the black-out poems about two years ago, and I really enjoyed them. I started bringing them into classrooms as a way to stop students from telling me they could not write a poem. I had a friend of mine, Carla, who would always say, “I just give them a page and a book and I say, ‘Circle these words;” and they say, ‘Ms., I can’t write a poem.’ ‘Well, can you circle?’ And I thought that is great. I am going to use that, “Can you circle.” I started thinking that they needed something else. So, I started doodling and doing designs. I really obsessed. I get really obsessed with something that I enjoy doing.
S: As artists do.
Annette: ‘Ms., I can’t write a poem.’ ‘Well, can you circle?’
A: It’s like I want to wear it all out or see what else I can do to it. My husband thought that they were really good. He suggested I enlarge them and start wheat pasting them.
S: So, wait, wait. You do wheat pasting as well?
A: That’s the part—that’s that part I haven’t gotten to yet. But, that is the third phrase of this particular paper project. I’ll be wheat pasting the student work at a Buffalo public school when it gets warmer here. But, he just kept pushing me to experiment more and more. And, I kept thinking, “It would be great to have other people see these.” He thought that it was a great idea, so he really encouraged me to just keep trying to push it into the public and wheat paste them on the wall. I thought, instead of me doing my work first, I wanted to show the student work. I thought that would be a great way to introduce them. Then, I can introduce my own work.
S: When you do the black-out poems, is there a particular theme? What’s the guiding hand? What’s the guiding formula by which you do the poems—if there is?
A: Now, I try to give myself a rubric. It is the same rubric I give students: No fewer than four words, and I try to do no more than thirty. I always say, “You know it is really great if the last few lines could have a punch at the end, some really cool one-liners. I think it also depends where you are getting the erasure poem from. Is it from a novel? What kind of novel? My nephew gave me a novel that I have been using, and it was very funny and light. It is very, sort of trashy. So that gave me all these different kinds of fun little poems. The students—I thought it would be really fun with them, to give them the challenge of working with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Annette: I thought it would be really fun...to give them the challenge of working with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
S: Oh, wonderful.
A: I thought that was a really great way to connect education to the arts so they would actually be forced to read those pages that I gave them. [Laughter]. It was so much fun seeing their minds moving and thinking how to put this puzzle together. Some students decided to use only five words or six or seven words to really get to the heart of the matter. I really appreciate that. So, for them, it was bringing history and art together. Now, here is this 300, almost 300-year-old document—break it down. [The activity] gives them problem solving, puzzle solving skills. For them, I really enjoyed it because there wasn’t a lot of hesitation.
S: Oh, really? How was the reception of it?
A: We had two classes. The art teacher at the time, Tanya Chuco, warned me beforehand that the first class will probably be really receptive and energetic. [About] the second class [Tanya said,] “Maybe, we need to nudge.” We did. We needed to nudge them a little bit more. There was more like a, “I can’t do this,” or, “This is so hard, Ms.” The first class, I heard, “This is really hard, Ms., but this is fun!” With anything, it depends on the day and the class and the person. However, everybody finished their work. There were some kids [who shared], “I am really not finished yet.” But I needed to take them to make the enlargements. I said, “Don’t worry about it. If you want to work on the sketch, we’re going to think of this as a sketch, you can do it later; but the big piece, you’re really going to have attack it now because it would have some of what you sketched out. But when you attack it—because these are going to be shades of gray—we can add more color with the paint.” They were really excited.
When I saw them, I was thinking, [feigning a crying] “Oh, no, too dark. I didn’t have enough money to do them again.” But when they [the students] saw them. They did not say anything about them being dark. They just said, “Wow, that’s so cool. Look at how big it is! Oh, Ms.! Oh, that’s mine! Oh, my god, that is so cool! I love that. I don’t see the gold anymore. What colors am I going to use?” They just—jumped right in.
Shayna: What’s important here is that it’s an approach to poetry.
S: What’s important here is that it’s an approach to poetry. Because I get so mad.
S: [In character; in response to applause] Thank you. Look at all this applause.
A: Don’t get mad.
S: I am not mad any longer. [Returning to comment] The way poetry is taught in school is, “What does this line mean? Could you figure out its reference? And if you can’t, shame on you.” Right?
S: It’s not taught as, for example, “What were your feelings at hearing that line? What images did it conjure for you? Did it remind you of anything? What did it taste like?”
S: That’s not how its taught. But, if it is taught with that sensory experience, then students bring their full selves. We were talking earlier about type writer art and what makes it literary. People will say, “What is the line between visual and literary art. In type writer art, in front of you is the whole alphabet. When you have a page full of words, in front of you is a literary document. So, your art is informed by words or language. That gives students a way to encounter language not as a blank canvas where people can get stumped by writer’s block, but say, “Okay, there is already language here. How do I manipulate it?”
A: [Nodding in affirmation]
S: So, if you can [tell me about]—we were talking earlier about, we can go in and out with the student work and also your stuff as well because I definitely want to hear about some of your work and your chapbooks. But—this idea of experimentation with language?
[Tune in the first week of May to find out Annette Daniel Taylor's answer to the last question and hear Part 2 of her interview. For the second part of all Part I interviews, return the first week in May—as the blog finishes National Poetry Month off with added content on the intersection of poetry and visual arts]
Wall Paper Poem Project Press Release | Event: Thursday April 28, from 5:30-7:30pm
During Olmsted’s annual Creativity in Bloom event, Thursday April 28, from 5:30-7:30pm students will exhibit their second phase erasure poems and related artwork. Creativity in Bloom is free and open to the public.
Location: Olmsted at Kensington (BPS #156) 319 Suffolk Street.
Plur·al·ity Press interviews the Cringe-Worthy Collective on what it means to build a network, intimately engage in a workshopping process and start publishing DIY style. We laughed. We cried. We read a table full of chapbooks. Join the conversation below.
Shayna: So, we’re live! Misty you were telling me about your book, your chapbook. You were telling me it had a lot to do with the mother-daughter relationship and all of the idiosyncrasies and happenstances therein.
Misty: It’s interesting because I sort of sandwich the chapbook. It starts off with three poems that are sort of random. It has a lot to with relationships. The middle four are almost only about the mother-daughter relationship, and the last three are about romantic relationships. There is one in there, just to screw things up, about a big bathroom counter top. So, there is that, too. It is trying to figure out filling a void and intimacy, what you think is intimacy and sort of falling short on every endeavor. In some senses, it is being surprised and finding it where you least expect it.
S: Filling a void with intimacy? That reminds me of all the books on co-dependency. When you were crafting the book was it all from personal memory or were you researching things? Were you asking friends about it? What's the background?
M: Well, there is a lot of poems in it that I pull from my personal history, but there is a lot of fiction in there as my life is not always as exciting as my poetry is. Narrative fiction as, you know.
[Laughing from all parties.]
But there is a lot of made-up stuff as well. I do a bit of an amount of research for certain poems. If I want to find a certain image, I like to find exactly the words to describe it or what exactly [that image] has to do with anything really in my life. What are of the things connoted by a certain image? What are positive or negative images and how to play with them in my work?
S: Just to talk about the collective group for a bit. I am going to do that in and out to have you guys speak about the collectivity. What do you feel drew you guys together because you are a part of a huge, vast poetry community [here in Buffalo, NY] and [still] formed the Cringe-Worthy Collective? Is there a particular mission, manifesto, pull? Why are you guys attracted to one another and working with one another?
Nathan: We’re some sexy people.
S: Sexy beasts?
N: Yeah. I think that; we’re—they’re young. I think I’m young.
Julio: You are.
N: Sometimes I do not realize I am staring down the barrel of 40. I still feel like a kid. Like I have more in common with the kids I teach than I do with my own peers. I noticed, and I think we all noticed this: that there are not many young people in literary poetry, at least in our initial exploration into it, and we’re...
Shayna: So, you guys, are readers of one another’s work?
N: Yeah, organized. There is a lot of young kids that show up. You don’t see them again, and they show up again. I guess, we are trying to make poetry more accessible for a younger generation, for millennials, for younger people. I mean, there is the Gray Hair series in Buffalo.
S: There really is a series called Gray Hairs.
M: Yeah, there is.
S: I thought you were just saying, "The gray hairs".
J: No, there is.
N: We’re not making fun of that in any way. But we’re pointing to that as a reality that there is no—upon first investigation—legacy. Our elders are extremely talented, some of whom have become friends of mine. I have a lot of respect for Martha B. I have a lot of respect for Lynn, Joel.
J: John R.
N: Yeah, John in Rochester. There is a wealth of amazing, driven, talented, wonderful, really welcoming community. But, again, there didn’t seem to be a lot really younger people in their 20s, early 20s doing stuff.
J: Yeah, in this day and age, you have to pretty much do things on your own. You have to learn what you need to learn from the internet. Some people tend to want to do things themselves. I kind of see our group as being diversely talented. We bring [to the collective] skills that no one person totally has. We also have different perspectives and different ways we think. We’re human. We obviously have differences, but we all have the same interest in poetry. We are all bound to look at things from different glasses--especially with our name being Cringe-Worthy. We look to aim, well I love to aim for stuff that people are not saying. That is what these two [Nathan and Misty] are doing as well.
N: Julio’s poems are kind of a separate bunch than all of ours because his stuff sucker punches. He likes sucker punch poems.
J: Which is funny because I remember attending creative writing classes where the teacher would constantly remind me to not do that. Don’t do that last punch in the gut because it leaves the reader wanting something. For me, I want people to keep reading.
M: Well, I think that is a general, very frequently said thing. You don’t want to leave everything to the end because that sort of takes out some of the artistry of what you are doing. I mean, the way you do it is very artful. It’s funny, and it's sweet. It’s interesting. It’s not like, “Oh I am going to keep this secret.” And the only reason it is going to be poem worth reading is because, “Oh here is this secret at the very end.” Suspense, that is not the way your poems read, as if they are using that as a crutch. I guess that is what I am saying.
J: Mistral, your poetry tends to revolve around a lot of the research you do. Even when it is a personal poem, I can tell that you put a lot of thought into every line. For me, I tend to try to do simple because I don’t have as great, as vast a vocabulary as Nathan; where his words are just there. There are some lines that are just, “Ah.” I can’t wait til people start reading your new poems. They are amazing. I try to do things simple with my poetry. I try to do a natural tongue. I guess, it comes out easier for me and for people to relate to.
Nathan: His stuff sucker punches
S: So, you guys, are readers of one another’s work? That is part of your thing?
M: That is one of the huge parts, that is part of the creative [collective]. It is very difficult to find people you respect enough to critique your work. A lot of times you ask people, “Can you take a look at that?” And they tell you something, and you’re like “Uh, fuck you.” Or you are like, “Thank you very much. That is the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard.”
J: “Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s great.” Oh, like there is nothing worse out there.
M: So it is wonderful to have two people to rely on. “Hey, guys, I wrote this. I don’t know whether this is good or not. What do you think?” We are always open to read drafts. We also see each other’s finished works. So if a critique is not listened to, it is not the end of the world because it is each other’s poems.
N: We serve as encouragement, inspiration, taskmaster to each other, creative consultant, emotional and spiritual support network and just friendship. It is challenging to find people that have similar interests, especially as the worlds gets to be all the screens between us. On the phone, the tablet, the computer—all the screens buried between all of us. It has gotten more challenging for me to find people who I connect with.
J: We see each other on a very regular basis.
S: How regularly do you see each other?
N: Well, because we are in the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair on the 9th and 10th of April, which is next week, week from today [Sunday, April 3rd, 2016], we will be packing up the car and readying to go there. We have been meeting almost every day because we are trying to have 600 books printed. Right now we probably have 300 books printed.
S: Are you printing from someone’s printer?
N: We are a kitchen table press. As you can see, there are four out of the six of our books [on the table]. You [Shayna] are familiar with my first book, "Beggar’s Book"; so you have seen that although it has a new cover now. The third edition, the third printing has a third cover. The first edition has one cover. The second edition has those stamped covers. And this one has a printed cover similar to it in the card stock.
S: [Reading one of the covers] “Bumblebee Petting Zoo”
N: This is our second chapbook.
Misty: We are always open to read drafts. We also see each other’s finished works.
J: This [the array of chapbooks on the table] is to show we are not leaving behind any of our previous work. We are also trying to make sure what we are learning tomorrow, today, goes onto make sure the work that we have done yesterday isn’t silent.
S: That’s the question, Julio, are all of your poems new for [your latest] book or is it incorporating the work of yesterday into the present moment? What was your process in “Don’t Give Up the Ship.” Tell me more about the book.
[Tune in the first week in May to find out Cringe-Worthy’s answer to the last question and hear Part 2 of their interview. For the second part of all Part I interviews, return the first week in May—as the blog finishes National Poetry Month off with added content on the intersection of poetry and visual arts]
Cringe-Worthy Collective Reads During the Interview. Listen In.
Barrie Tullett in Typewritter Art: A Modern Anthology, poignantly coveys the euphoria that arose at the advent of the typewriter. It presented a new technology that “allowed writers to write as quickly as they thought” (Kindle Location 57). “To save time is to lengthen life,” an adage the author presents in the first part of the book gets to my first observation while reading this anthology and site at which typewriter poets erred.
Enraptured by the potentialities the typewriter opened up, artists creating typewriter art were moving with such unexamined speed and toward a rhapsodic proliferation that there were immeasurable opportunities missed for sitting down and pulling together critically to what their material processes illuminated about language and literary arts in modern times.
Tullet writes, “The use of the machine as a tool for creative expression seems to have been overlooked historically, perhaps due to the fact that the artists would primarily be stenographers or typists showing their skills in competition with others in the same field” (Location 183). The aforementioned highlights that the decorative, purely ornamental aspects of typewriter art were overly highlighted in the absence of a poetics that rose above the fray—which didn’t arrive until the concrete poets came on the scene and the provided their various and critically valuable manifestos.
Tullet goes on the write about the implications and costs of presenting the conceptual threads of their work and more so process— “Most early artist were likely unaware of the historical context of their piece, leading to a lack of dissemination of critical approval…which meant that the range of work being produced internationally was not fully realized” (ibid). We see, for example, in the case of Stacey, who completed what was called “art-typing” (Location 198) of peacocks and small figures in 1904, she was called “an English stenographer” (ibid) rather than a poet. This distinction is crucial, for there is hegemonic force at play here that nominates “art-typing” out of the realm of poetry.
It is important to realize that in calling Stacey’s work “art-typing” the word art comes first and not typing. In fact, there seemingly was no realization in 1904 that in fact, she was actually starting with the letter or punctuation to form spatial relation and syntax—that is a completely literary, grammatical act. It is important to not let those without the eyes to see (hegemonic, totalizing forces) determine into what genre an experimental artist falls.
On one end, the typewriter artist shoots him/her own self in the foot when they concur with an articulated or coherent observation of their work that calls what they are doing “observational drawings to pattern pieces that are more akin to cross-stitch patterns or samplers” (Location 276) as the author Tullet does regarding Roger Van Braekel’s work. Even if a typewriter artist is doing impressionistic work, she/he are doing work within the realm of spatial syntax & that should equally if not more so highlighted. An example of self-determination within typewriter poem genre is in the Noigandres manifesto; the author quotes from The Pilot Plan for Concrete Poetry, “Concrete poetry begins by being aware of the graphic space as a structural agent” (Location 313).
For all the talk in the book about the structure and elegance, limitation and possibility of the typewriter, early typewriter poets suffered from being too swift of hand and not pausing to see how their beloved form of technology helped produced or cue the form of their poems.
Shayna S. Israel
Blog Mission: In the spirit of becoming , to provide iterative thoughts toward a deepened understanding of and experience with the intersection of literary and visual arts.