from “Toward Vispoetics”


Staring at language Staring at sound
Staring at water
Staring at wood
Staring at sequence Staring at light
Staring at cellular activity Staring at sky
Staring at words
Staring at letters

Staring at pieces of letters
Staring at pieces of pieces of letters Staring at ink
Staring at markings
Staring at texture
Staring at molecular swing


Is a letter real? Does it qualify as a real
world, real time object? Is a letter a totally hypothetical entity? Is it just a non-physical mental object? Are words real? Sculpture
of alphabet and ink on paper are real, right? Letters are drawings of something common enough that needs repeating. But none of it is real. Sound is real, and seeing is real, as well as the other senses, but beside its usage as a representative or document unit – how is a letter real? Can’t touch or smell it. Can’t bring one with you on a plane – unless it’s a copy – and then, a copy of what? Where’s its original?
For instance, is the letter Q an object or does it
exist only in the pedagogic fog of the unreal? Is it merely the shared delusion of teachers that letters are smiley-faced characters or is there physicality there?


You are in a room. The words are chair and table. We know, in the atomic world, that the chair and table are moving – their atoms are in constant motion. And so we can say that the letters that make up the chair and the table are also in flux.
Seeing is believing that alphabets are in motion and in a moment come together to form a word. Otherwise, letters are everywhere at once, hovering in consideration. Visual poetry documents this occurrence. It documents the individual letters that precede the making of a word – before it ever reaches a conclusion – the alignment that, when acquired, is letters in flux adjoined to a necessary meaning. It requires a result in the shape and structure of words. This destination, though, is not complete and will not stand alone. That is to say, the final product
is not always a word and can be equally, if not better conveyed, as the culminating ascent of the pre-word or waning disintegration of the post-word.


Staring at the middle of words Staring at the pre word
Staring at font and serif
Staring at type and non serif Staring at pictures written Staring at writing drawn
Staring at letter pattern
Staring at pattern issuing pattern Staring at disruption
Staring at disruptive shift Staring at deterioration
Staring at the post word
Staring at sweet eruption
Staring at sudden construction

The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry 1998-2008 (Fantagraphics Books) edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill.

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