Mail-art by IUOMA member Theresa Williams (Bowling Green, Ohio, USA)
September 11, 2012 - Sometime during the MinXus-Lynxus Solar Festival 2012, Theresa Williams sent this lovely mail-art commemorating poets Walt Whitman, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), and Lorine Niedecker. Theresa is President of the New Arazamas Literary Society. Here is the beautiful reverse side of the “Lives of the Annointed [sic]” card:
Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970) might not be as familiar to the discerning as Walt Whitman and H.D. I like her poetry very much and am particularly interested in her involvement with the Objectivists and Objectivism in the 1930s (no relation to Ayn Rand):
Ever thoughtful, Theresa Williams sent this mirthful tribute to the poets in a decorated envelope:
And the reverse:
Make sure to visit Theresa Williams’ “The Letter Project,” a modern correspondence school:
Mail-art & visual poetry from Ficus strangulensis, Panjandrum of Blorchistan (Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
Visual poetry as ATC cards from IUOMA member Ficus strangulensis, Panjandrum of Blorchistan (Charleston, West Virginia, USA)
With trembling hands and anticipation, I was pleased to receive a thick envelope last week from new-old friend Ficus strangulensis in Charleston, West Virginia.
Once an industrial chemist with an inquiring mind, Ficus strangulensis found mail-art and Otherstream literature, producing an extraordinary body of work, the bulk of which was released through the Eternal Network in the 1990s. His zine Transmog was a beacon for what I identify in this blog as Otherstream but also has a number of other designations.
Today Ficus strangulensis remains active creatively, contributing, communicating through the network but below the radar. Some might characterize him as reclusive, busy with arcane pursuits and rifle target practice in the secluded wilderness of West Virginia.
Ficus always includes nice correspondence and gives you a peak of his mailing list:
As the beginning of his message indicates, I have proposed a collaboration with Ficus; and he has agreed. (More on this exciting development further down!).
The reference to William S. Burroughs is not random. Ficus – along with his contributions to visual poetry, collage and photography – is recognized by many as being a serious practitioner and working heir to applications of the “cut-up technique” developed by Burroughs, Brion Gysin and Harold Norse. Ficus has refined the method considerably, and he sent me some examples of his poem-objects to add to my growing collection of his work:
Bad timing characterizes my correspondence with Ficus over the years.
When I lived in Alabama, I made the acquaintance of Jake Berry in Huntsville, Alabama, a writer, artist and musician of striking originality – a “pure product of America” as William Carlos Williams wrote.
Jake and I developed a crude cultural slash-and-burn programme for the southern portion of the U.S. that came to include Mike Miskowski (Tempe, Arizona) and his MaLLife zine and his Bomb Shelter Propaganda publishing outfit. (Ruth Schowalter in Alabama – gladly abandoning her New Criticism-influenced master’s thesis on Thomas Hardy – came on board with Paper Bird Press and there was a steady correspondence with vispo theorist Bob Grumman in Florida.)
I am convinced I saw work by Ficus for the first time in MaLLife about the time Mike published some work by Dick Higgins, which brought a feeble awareness to my mind (no doubt obvious to everyone else) that the New Wave of visual poetry and correspondence art was actually connected to the older efforts of Fluxus and Ray Johnson that emanated from New York City and I that had (very wrongly assumed) was the work of a bunch of mental patients. I was no stranger to performances by people dripping water into buckets. Ficus offered an avant poetry that was an alternative to the true Red Menace of those times: Langpo.
I saw Transmog and Ficus’s work elsewhere, but the years of his greatest presence in the network were years when I was taking time out. I also missed the David Chirot phenom. Fortunately, there has been ample time to connect and re-connect.
The envelope displays a collab with (Trashpo Jesus) Jim Leftwich, suggesting that what comes around goes around in mail-art:
Many thanks and much affection to new-old friend Ficus strangulensis – Hero of the Southern Front. The Ohio State University has a nice and well-organized collection of work by Ficus strangulensis:
MinXus-Lynxus Shooting Gallery Project with Ficus strangulensis, Marie Wintzer & Diane Keys - Action art cosmic mythology revelation Event Score + vispo by Carina Granlund (Petsmo, Finland)
(Photo courtesy of USA National Rifle Association – Depicts the action art-text editing component of the MinXus Shooting Gallery Project)
Yesterday a missive was dispatched from Minxus-USA (New York’s Overlook Hotel) to Ficus Strangulensis in West Virginia, USA. This is the first (and possibly final) phase of the MinXus-Lynxus Shooting Gallery Project. Here is an overview:
Purpose: To detect deep cosmic mythological texts embedded within existing texts & thus creating new texts using chance operation/precision action-art editing by Ficus strangulensis
Texts: Trashpo by Diane Keys (Elgin Illinois, USA), Lexicon by Marie Wintzer aka Empress Marie Antonette (Tokyo, Japan) & sonnet by William Shakespeare
Shooting Gallery Event Score:
- Ficus strangulensis receives texts from DK, Empress Marie & Shakespeare (texts have been formatted as rifle targets)
- Ficus uses texts as rifle targets (under safety-insured, responsible & properly permitted conditions), thus piercing texts with bullet holes in action art performance
- Ficus kindly returns “executed” text-targets (using enclosed envelope) to MinXus USA
- MinXus USA transcribes “executed” text-targets (where bullets holes have erased words and letters) into new text
- MinXus-Lynxus documents all aspects of the project
Photo-vispo by Carina Granlund (Petsmo, Finland). This illustrates the image-textual/perforation method that will be used for text editing in the Shooting Gallery Project. MinXus-Lynxus views this also as an experiment in Holism.)
TEXT-TARGETS FOR THIS PHASE OF THE MINXUS-LYNXUS SHOOTING GALLERY PROJECT
Original lexicon page by Marie Wintzer aka Empress Marie Antonette (Tokyo, Japan)
Text by Marie Wintzer converted into woodchuck target ( aka hedge hog or large rodent) for Shooting Gallery Project
Trashpo by Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA) (Translated by De Villo Sloan)
Trashpo by Diane Keys formatted as woodchuck target
Text of William Shakespeare’s “Shall I Compare the to a Summer’s Day?” sonnet (courtesy of Academy of American Poets)
Shakespeare sonnet formatted as woodchuck target.
More Trashpo by Diane Keys (translated by De Villo Sloan)
Trashpo by DK (translated by De Villo Sloan)
MinXus-Lynxus thanks all participants profusely, especially Ficus strangulensis – the event score has evolved since earlier email conversations about the project. We also look forward to documenting the project further as it unfolds.
Vispo from Alexander Limarev (Novosibirsk, Russian Federation)
Mail-art by IUOMA member Alexander Limarev (Novosibirsk, Russian Federation)
I was thrilled to receive this work of visual poetry from new correspondent Alexander Limarev of Russia. This is a large piece (approximately 8.5 x 11 inches). While hardly lacking in visual imagery and textures, it is essentially minimal with “GLOOM” being composed of smiles: a very nice touch of irony. He wrote a message on the reverse side:
He kindly informs us the work is composed a “laser print, drawing, [and] embroidery.” A very thoughtful piece indeed!
Alexander Limarev does not seem to have a blog. Perhaps you would like to send him something. He seems to be especially interested in stamps:
Deepest thanks to Alexander! We will send you something in return very soon!
"No! I prefer MinXus!"