The Text Festivals: Language Art and Material Poetry


The Text Festivals: Language Art and Material Poetry edited by Tony Lopez

It is a remarkable phenomenon that the foremost among recent sites of this interrogation of boundaries has been a series of festivals located in Bury, on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. World leading artists and poets have been brought together in a range of exhibitions and performances that demonstrate a new and productive collision of different cultural enterprises and expectations. Among those shown at the Text Festivals are Fiona Banner, derek beaulieu, Caroline Bergvall, Joseph Beuys, Christian Bok, Brass Art, Marcel Broodthaers, Pavel Buchler, Augusto de Campos, Zeynep Cansu, Henri Chopin, Bob Cobbing, Liz Collini, Philip Davenport, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hamish Fulton, Eugen Gomringer, Robert Grenier, Alan Halsey, Alexander Jorgenson, Satu Kaikonen, Martin Kippenburger, Karri Kokko, Marton Koppany, On Kawara, Helmut Lemke, Richard Long, Tony Lopez, Jackson Mac Low, Hansjorg Mayer, Steve Miller, Kerry Morrison, Maurizio Nannucci, Patrick Fabian Panetta, Holly Pester, Tom Philips, Shaun Pickard, Kate Pickering, Hester Reeve (HRH.the), Spencer Roberts, Ed Ruscha, Ron Silliman, Mary Ellen Solt, Magda Stawarska-Beavan, Harald Stoffers, Carolyn Thompson, Nick Thurston, Aysegul Tozeren, TNWK, Tony Trehy, Nico Vasilakis, Carol Watts, Lawrence Weiner, George Widener, Ming Wong, and Eric Zboya. Artists, poets and curators working in these overlapping fields have written this book. It includes new essays by Tony Trehy (director of the Text Festivals), derek beaulieu, Christian Bok, Liz Collini, James Davies, Philip Davenport, Robert Grenier, Alan Halsey, Tony Lopez, Holly Pester, Hester Reeve (HRH.the), Carolyn Thompson, and Carol Watts.

OUT NOW from Plymouth University Press or via Amazon

Double Change: Global Conceptualisms

Double Change vous invite à « Global Conceptualisms », lecture collective de
Paal Bjelke Andersen (Norvège), Christian Bök (Canada), Marco Antonio Huerta (Mexique), Franck Leibovici (France), Swantje Lichtenstein (Allemagne), Vanessa Place (Etats-Unis), Carlos Soto-Román (Chili), Nick Thurston (Grande Bretagne)
Le jeudi 7 juin 2012 à 19h30 à la galerie éof, 15 rue Saint Fiacre, 75002 Paris (métro grands boulevards ou bonne nouvelle)
Entrée libre.
Lecture à l’occasion du festival &Now des nouvelles écritures en Amérique et en France, organisé par les Universités Paris-Sorbonne (VALE, EA 4085), Paris Diderot (LARCA, EA 4214) et Paris Ouest (CREA, EA 370), en partenariat avec la libraire Shakespeare&Co, du 6 au 10 juin 2012, à l’Université de la Sorbonne, l’Institut d’anglais Charles V de l’Université Paris Diderot et à l’Ecole normale supérieure.
VANESSA PLACE It appears as if Vanessa Place was the first poet to perform as part of the Whitney Biennial (2012). There was a content advisory posted.
NICK THURSTON is the author of two books, Reading the Remove of Literature (2006) and Historia Abscondita (2007), plus numerous journal articles and artists’ pages. He is also the co-author of two pocketbooks including, most recently, ‘Do or DIY’, which accompanied an eponymous exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery (London). The independent artists’ book publishing imprint that Nick co-edits edit, Information as Material, have just finished a tenure there as the Writers in Residence. Nick holds an academic post at Sheffield Hallam University and works as a Lecturer in Fine Art and Contemporary Curating at various UK HE institutions. his bookworks are collected internationally by institutions including the Tate (London) and MoMA (New York); and his print and sculptural works are held in public and private collections around Europe, including the Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven) and The  Biblioteque Nationale (Paris).
CHRISTIAN BÖK is the author not only of Crystallography (Coach House Press, 1994), a pataphysical encyclopedia nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, but also of Eunoia (Coach House Books, 2001), a bestselling work of experimental literature, which has gone on to win the Griffin Prize for Poetic Excellence. Bök has created artificial languages for two television shows: Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict and Peter Benchley’s Amazon. Bök has also earned many accolades for his virtuoso performances of sound poetry (particularly the Ursonate by Kurt Schwitters). His conceptual artworks (which include books built out of Rubik’s cubes and Lego bricks) have appeared at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York City as part of the exhibit Poetry Plastique. The Utne Reader has recently included Bök in its list of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” Bök teaches English at the University of Calgary.
CARLOS SOTO-ROMÁN was born in Valparaíso, Chile. He is the author of “La Marcha de los Quiltros” (1999), “Haiku Minero” (2007), “Cambio y Fuera” (2009), “Philadelphia’s Notebooks” (2011) and the forthcoming chapbook “Con/Science” (Summer, 2012). He is a translator and the curator of Elective Affinities, a cooperative anthology of  contemporary U.S. poetry. He is also a pharmacist and holds a Master’s degree in Bioethics. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.
MARCO ANTONIO HUERTA Mexican translator and post-conceptual poet. Won the Northeastern Poetry Award in 2005. Is the author of three poetry collections: La semana milagrosa (Conarte, 2006), Golden Boy (Letras de Pasto Verde, 2009), and Hay un jardín (Tierra Adentro, 2009). During the summer of 2009 he decided to kill his own lyrical self. His work has been published in several periodicals and anthologies in Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, and the United States. He has performed on experimental writing gatherings such as Not Content, curated by Vanessa Place and Teresa Carmody (Los Angeles, 2010), the & Now Festival (San Diego, 2011), and Los límites del lenguaje (Monterrey, 2012). His tweets can be read at
PAAL BJELKE ANDERSEN is a Norwegian writer and editor. In his recent Dugnad and The Grefsen Address he uses poetry as a tool to analyze the notions of community in the Scandinavian social democratic societies. The Grefsen Address is available for downloading at the Eclipse Archive. From 2002 to 2008 he edited the web magazine nypoesi, is one of the organizers of the poetry festival Audiatur in Bergen, edits the small press Attåt and curates a series of readings and talks addressing poetics and politics in Oslo called Folkebiblioteket (The Public Library). All of these initiatives are transnational and -lingual. The last two years he have spend considerable time in Tehran working on a translation of Iranian Language-, conceptual- and visual poets into Norwegian.
FRANCK LEIBOVICI (1975) is often described as a “visual poet”, the meaning of which he redefines with every of his new publications and actions in the public space. By introducing the notion of “poetic document”, Leibovici has created a category embracing a wide range of artistic practices, from visual poetry to conceptual art. During last years, his work has been exhibited at Kunsthalle of Malmö (2005 with Ernesto Neto), Vega-Literaturhaus (Copenhage, 2006) and Jumex Foundation (Esquiador en el fondo de un pozo, Mexico, DF, 2006), among others. He has performed and lectured at venues such as Location One in New York (2006), the OEI-Index Foundation (Stockholm, 2007) or at École Normae Supérieur Lyon (2007). His books Portraits Chinois and Des documents poétiques have been recently published by Al Dante editions in 2007.
SWANTJE LICHTENSTEIN is a writer, editor, artist and professor for literature as an aesthetic practice. (University of Applied Sciences/Duesseldorf, Germany). She is author of „Das lyrische Projekt (The lyrical project)“ (Munich: Iudicium: 2004), „figurenflecken oder: blinde verschickung“ (stains of figures or: blind postings) (Aachen: Rimbaud 2006), „Landen“ (landings) (Munich: Lyrikedition 2009), „Entlang der lebendigen Linie. Sexophismen“ (Along the living line. Sexophisms) (Vienna: Passagen 2010), „Horae“ (Horae) (Berlin: J.Frank 2012). She translated V. Place/R.Fittermans „Notes on Conceptualism“ into German and started to widespread thoughts about Conceptual Writing in German speaking countries through lectures and performances.

The death of conceptualism?

“Conceptualism is probably over now, even in its newest iterations. The generative energy has gone out of procedural work and gestures of appropriation, retranslation, transcribing, and other methods of production that take an idea as a point of departure and carry out its terms to whatever affectless effect can be realized.” Johanna Drucker.

“Johanna Drucker has suggested that Conceptual Literature has begun to enter the twilight of its eminence, on the verge of becoming yet another one of the exhausted movements in the history of the avant-garde. While I am happy to see Conceptual Literature discussed within the context of its historical precedents (even if only to suggest that such writing has merely rehashed the techniques of its more noteworthy precursors), I feel that Drucker might be underemphasizing the degree to which her own observations about the “death” of Conceptual Literature might be recycling historical complaints, no less “unoriginal,” no less “uncreative,” in their obituaries, which declare the death of a genre, long before its generative potentials have been fully explored or fully absorbed….” Christian Bök.

Sucking on Words

Sucking on Words

A night of primordial sonatas, to celebrate 10 years of writers’ collective information as material
Venue: Whitechapel Gallery, London, E1 7QX

Date: Saturday 18 February 2012

Time: 19.30-22.30

Tickets: online here or tel: +44 (0)20 7522 7888

A feast of sonic poetry with performances by Rob Lavers and Simon Morris, Nick Thurston, and a headline set by Dutch avant-garde composer Jaap Blonk. A VJ playlist, put together especially for the night by Canadian poet Christian Bök, will provide sights and sounds between performances and alongside the drinks.

The audience are politely reminded that the ears have no lids.

As Jaap Blonk recalls: “The reception of these first public performances [of Kurt Scwitters’ Ursonate] was varying widely. On many occasions I was performing at rock or punk clubs as an opening act for a band, and lots of people were not at all into it. Their preference was either to just talk with their friends or hear their habitual kind of music. So they started to scream and protest, and often throwing things at me, especially beer, which fortunately was mostly given out in plastic, not glass containers. The culminating point of this kind of experience was a performance of the Ursonate, opening for a concert of The Stranglers at Vredenburg Music Center in Utrecht in 1986, for an audience of about 2000 fans. When I was announced, even before I had opened my mouth, people started calling out: “Rot op!” (“Fuck off!”), and when I started, the atmosphere became very much that of a football match, but clearly an away game for me. With massive roaring they tried to drown out my voice, but of course the P.A. made me louder. Six stage guards were working hard to keep people from climbing the stage and hitting me, and hundreds of half-full plastic beer glasses flew about me. But in the course of the performance I managed to win over at least a few hundred people, who were roaring in my favor. The next morning one newspaper had the headline “Jaap Blonk Shocks Punk Audience With Dada Poetry”, which for me was a nice testimony to the fact that Schwitters’ piece was still very much alive, in spite of its age.”

Christian Bök – The Xenotext

“Many artists seek to attain immortality through their art, but few would expect their work to outlast the human race and live on for billions of years. As Canadian poet Christian Bök has realised, it all comes down to the durability of your materials. Bök has written a poem, “The Xenotext”, which he is inserting into the DNA of a particularly resilient form of bacteria, Deinococcus radiodurans. This extremophile bacterium can survive exposure to cold, dehydration, acid and vacuums, meaning it could live on in outer space should the Earth cease to exist.”

More about Bök’s Text Festival project in The Observer, here.

London Word Festival

This started on 7th April and runs until 5th May with some interesting events still to come, including:

Tue 19 Apr

Paul Granjon + FOUND + Ross Sutherland + Nikesh Shukla + Tamarin Norwood + MC Nathan Penlington
featuring Ladies of the Press
Richmix | 7.30pm | £8 adv/£10 door

Tue 3 May
Christian Bök

+ Luke Kennard
+ Maria Fusco
+ Ben Gwalchmai
+ MC Ross Sutherland

Vibe Live | 7.30pm | £6.50 adv/£8 doors

More here.

Guardian Reveals ‘Top Ten Poetry of the Noughties’

In its festive merriment, and review of the culture of the decad,e The Guardian takes a closer look at what’s been important over the last ten years in the world of poetry.

1. Miles Champion Three Bell Zero
2. Christian Bok Eunoia
3. Tim Atkins Horace
4. Peter Manson Adjunct: A Digest
5. Tom Raworth Collected Poems
6. P. Inman Ad Finitum
7. Ron Silliman The Alphabet
8. Tom Jenks A Priori
9. Caroline Bergvall Fig
10. Jeff Hilson (ed.) The Reality Street Books of Sonnets

LINK to feature