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Visual poetry can be defined as poetry that is meant to be seen. Combining painting and poetry, it attempts to synthesize the principles.
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I loved the idea that another artist could just send me something without it being juried first. I really loved that I could see what someone else did just a day or two before, without having to wait a year or more for it to show up in a show. And, of course, many of the pieces I received also had the instruction, Do something to this and send it back.


  • I Beatrice;
  • Reading Visual Poetry.
  • A Piece Of Heaven?
  • Visible Language.
  • How do I “read” visual poetry like KIN S FUR?;

For that we set up some ground rules that would make the pages look like they belong together. We had the rule to use the same boxes on each page, to use the same font throughout. Another important characteristic is that we ask each other a lot of questions as we go along. Asking questions is a good way of understanding where the other person is going, and also of offering criticism. We always criticize the artwork, not each other as an entity. The artwork is an entity separate from each of us. Do you think we need a large black spot here?

SM: Yes, I see it similarly, Kathy. Talk about splendid. We worked very closely on the page spread, and I think that when we do work together you have a gift for stimulating artistic freedom and confidence. I found that I was ever so slightly tip-toey as I moved into. You really made that go away very quickly, so that the same enrichment was there for me in visual poetry that I felt in the other sphere. We do things together in person. We really got into that for quite a period of time, making physical things and of course photographing them soon after, also adding feathers and fabric and textures and all these wonderful elements.

Large canvases, small canvases. Rather, it is stimulating, because the combination of personalities, I suppose we would say, tends to work extremely well. I think that I might want to.

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In the digital collaborations generally one of us starts something and sends it to the other person via email, and then we send it back-and-forth as much as we feel we need to. Just one back-and-forth like that. That kind of thing. I seem to have cut. You could sort of introduce that for us. It may have been your observation, Kathy that your initials are K.

Natalie Czech's visual poetry of repetition | Sleek Magazine

This kind of unity produces different work from work that is ours individually. It was just kind of meant to be, and offers an interesting element.


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KSE: Yeah, I thought of it as our initials doing a collaboration by themselves. KSE: They just went off and that was how it was going to be. For me, there is certainly far more than an additive function when two people work together. Or did I write that, or what? SM: Right. As you mentioned before I do think of you as more the wordsmith, and of me as somewhat more of the graphics person, maybe since that was my profession during my working life.

We talk about a few things conceptual, then we start packing up text. Bang, bang, bang, backand-forth, and we have a big chunk of text from which we liberally borrow as we build pieces.

‘One Way of Looking at Vispo’ by Philip Meersman

You will often say, as you did with Underscore, which is about to be released, that you wanted to see crows. They fit what we were doing, so that emerged as a visual element and the text had a relationship to that. The notes had relationships to that, as did the various placements of the textual pieces, the visual pieces and so forth. If you could do something rather than say the same thing , with the same impact, by using another art form, this might call into question the original medium chosen.

In my view, what we do requires the way we work, the methods we use, to gain the desired effect. The fun part of collaboration for me is actually getting to become the other person. So collaboration, you know, is full of surprises. I love to be surprised, because that enhances me, provides creative flow.

The worst thing you can have in any creative endeavor is tedium, I think. SM: Oh, dear god, tedium. SM: The work shows itself. An artwork is an artwork is an artwork. SM: Sure. KSE: How it first strikes you is really the important thing. SM: Lovely distinction. KSE: Art happens in two instances in the life of an artwork, whether that artwork is writing or painting or whatever it is. The first time art happens is when the artist conceives of and creates the piece. The second time it happens is when the piece affects its viewers, or listeners.

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You know the piece itself is the artwork, and it must be able to stand alone and interact with the viewer on its own two feet, so to speak, without somebody there to apologize for it. I feel the same. I believe that its rigor must be there. Is there something interesting about the intersection of friendship and art?

Reading Space in Visual Poetry: New Cognitive Perspectives

KSE: You know, I had kind of made a little list of things connected with that thought, and you touched on all of them. I have to say that the last item on my list was: most of all, I discover truly wonderful friends. SM: Yes. It really is. I think that the visual-poetry community, if I may, in addition. KSE: Yes. I just love the people in the visual poetry community. SM: I feel the same.

This might be a good place for us to stop, and again, we express our thanks to Jessica for this opportunity. It encompasses visual art to which text is integral, and poetry that draws attention to and plays on the visual nature of text. In visual poetry, words are seen and not only heard. Such an expansive art naturally attracts a wide variety of poets and artists, including many women. No artist creates in a vacuum.

Each artwork is part of a conversation between the artist and her forbears and contemporaries. As Jessica Smith notes in her introduction, the idea of coterie is integral to the narrative myths of many artistic and literary movements or schools. Yet women artists have always been present, even if official histories have relegated them to set dressing around the edges of an in-crowd. And their work is no less dependent than that of their male counterparts on the invigorating forces of friendship, the exchange of ideas and techniques among rivals and companions.

No real artist, male or female, stands alone. Art begets art, and is begotten by it in turn. They discuss without dissimulation their admiration and respect for one another, sharing ideas and techniques, building the foundation for further collaborations, new poems and artworks, and pushing both their media and their messages forward. They are avant-garde in the best, literal sense, at the forefront of genre-bending, hybridizing processes.

As such, their conversations are not merely documentary—these talks invite answers, rejoinders and further discussion. For me, the conversations presented here engendered that feeling of continuing presence. As I read and re-read them, I carried their words into myself and my ways of seeing and seeking art. Reading K. After reading Jessica Smith and K.

Independent Reading, visual Poetry

Our fates are connected. No man or woman is an island. Artists especially can do nothing without reference and reliance on those who are traveling alongside. If she is very lucky, this means encountering the right artists—not just as contemporaries, but as friends. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure—a ghostly couple. Oh, no. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the house all empty, the doors standing open, only the wood pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm.

What did I want to find?