Text In The Machine
Technology has touched visual poetry, that much is true. It has allowed the alphabet to liberate its visual material, letters, more readily. Electronic sharing of imagetext has been a boon to vispo, expanding both audience and practitioners equally. One wonders what early Concrete or Lettrist poetries might have done with these machines.
Vispo is going through a new surge with more books, anthologies, exhibits both on and offline. Factions, like asemic writing, are splintering off in new directions. Literature is becoming further hybrid, further minimal, further conceptual, but the basic unit of measure, the letter, remains its genetic landmark. The notion of alphabet in vispo has shifted to include not only the visual substance of letters, but the fragmentary markings, the drawn portions that make up a letter.
Concrete poetry was about the reduction of literature to its bare essentials while attempting to sustain word logic. The results varied from slogans, to puns, to visual representations of language. Visual poetry, for the most part, alleviates itself of word bound meaning in order to get to the building blocks, the atomic associative relations between seeing and saying and thinking and documenting our visual world and how it effects us.