RECEIVED: Visual Poetry Mail-Art from Matthew Stolte (Madison, Wisconsin, USA)

Mail-art by IUOMA member Matthew Stolte (Madison, Wisconsin, USA)


November 29, 2011 - Visual poet Matthew Stolte celebrated a birthday a few days ago, and this blog is partially meant to offer best wishes. I've been trading, receiving, blogging work from Matt for about a year now. I have come to very much look forward to what he sends. Above are two recent pieces. 


I used to moan that I thought Matt sent me his trash while others received better work. My position has changed.


I especially like the black and white work (a shining example at the very top). I have always felt they represent that very interesting place where concrete poetry evolved into that new, vast, and still difficult-to-define area of vispo. It is as if Matt freeze frames an organic evolution where recognizable language is melding into asemic and strange visual forms rooted in the word and syntax. I have also come to appreciate the gritty, industrial quality of some of this work.


The second piece is far more rooted in collage as well as the distinctive, vispo-asemic forms many of us associate with the Asemics 16 Project (although Matt sadly never checked on board that Titanic). I like the piece very much, and it shows Matt Stolte's incredible versatility, whether it is found art or complex asemics. 


Matt tends to keep messages to a minimum, especially since my attempt to draft him as governor of Wisconsin, a pivotal electoral state in the Republic of Vispo. I apologize for the indignities he endures in my blogs. He's certainly a good sport:


Many visual poets participate in mail-art; it amounts to a tradition. I was pleased to read (somewhere) Reed Altemus (Maine, USA) is publishing an edition of Matt's work.


Lately, I have been looking at a lot of visual poetry. To achieve their full effect, it strikes me that most visual poems need a larger field than that afforded by the postcard-size format so common in mail-art. (Sending copies of your book or large prints don't always match the mail-art concept).


Postcards are convenient and practical for visual poets adapting their work to network standards. It's not always easy making it work. (Trust me, I've experienced some mishaps). Matt Stolte, I think, does a great job with the reduced-scale challenge.  The work is extremely effective.


As ever, many thanks, Matt. I hope to see you in the mail soon with a successful, post-card size response. Matt's blog is a great "gateway" to Further Adventures in Vispo:




A paisley schnauzer evaporating benzene green parachutes into that dead guy in "Lord of the Flies." Then uncontrollable vomiting


43, 38, 25, 23, 10, 2


Views: 270


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Comment by cheryl penn on November 30, 2011 at 2:34pm

Great blog De Villo - and I've just ordered the book Matthew had published by Reed Altemus (among others) - I am looking FORWARD! The more I read, the more complex this area becomes - so thank you - I look forward to further work in this area :-) X 

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 30, 2011 at 1:30pm

Thanks, CB. Earlier concrete poetry (that I think #1 references) was all b&w. Later vispo has certainly brought color to it.


The Mail-Art Psychic adds the message later. It's a complicated process. But get out your D-Koder because voices from the cosmic debris are forth coming.

Comment by Marie Wintzer on November 30, 2011 at 12:15pm

No M-AP but great blog DVS. And it echoes very well to the postcard Helen Amyes blogged earlier today. It looks like people have split views on Vispo. I really like the second postcard.

Fitting one's work onto a postcard can sometimes be a headache, yes. And with Photo Vispo, printing is even more of a headache I think. Or a challenge, as you nicely put it.



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