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 De Villo Sloan on December 1, 2011 at 5:00am

Nice to see you, Angie. I love that Snooker zombie poster in the gallery, BTW.


When I posted an earlier blog of Matt's work, I wrote about how I'm always so impressed with Wisconsin as a global center of vispo. You know, with Meikal And, David Chirot, you (!), and many others. It was during those protests you had in Madison that were covered so much by the media. I somehow got on a rant that Matt should run for your governor. You know my twisted humor, but I'm not sure if he knew where I was coming from. Anyway, an opportunity to recognize Wisconsin for vispo & mail-art. And it works both ways. After a year, I think I'm starting to "get" what Matt's doing in his work. So, yeah, I look forward to it. Thanks again, Snooks.

Comment by Marie Wintzer on December 1, 2011 at 4:55am

Which one is the relationship advice? Trash attracts roaches?

Comment by De Villo Sloan on December 1, 2011 at 3:59am

The Mail-Art Psychic is here! The Mail-Art Psychic is here with relationship advice!

Comment by Matthew Stolte on December 1, 2011 at 12:18am

the banner for Ill. Pre. is from a grocery bag work.  i recently found a large, torn "from a sign" magnet in the street i plan on forwarding to John.  biking is a good way to find material.  & last Feb, March i literally dug Wisconsin Protest signs out of the snow to work on (after the material dried on the apartment floor).  a copy of Cr ch will find you!

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 30, 2011 at 11:37pm

Matt, Illegitimate Prescriptions has never looked better. I really like your pieces on grocery bags. Maybe John Bennett could give you one of his shopping lists as an intro. But seriously, nice work!

Comment by Matthew Stolte on November 30, 2011 at 6:07pm


Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 30, 2011 at 5:50pm

Gives new meaning to the idea of Matt-erialism.

Comment by Matthew Stolte on November 30, 2011 at 3:08pm

thanks for writing.  i'll come back to it to remind myself what i'm doing!  & in the meantime scrounge for stamps & send u work (only the very best, to be sure).  still riding my bike to work in the WI cold, but no snow here yet, i'll be pedaling out in a few minutes!

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 30, 2011 at 3:01pm

I'm so glad you like Matt's work as much as I do.


Sometimes I wish a great eminence like John Bennett would step in and put all the concepts in order for us. His silence must surely be a sign of wisdom. Kat, I definitely see asemic symbols in this work. I see vispo and at least nods to concrete poetry as well. I think all of us who particpated in Asemics 16 discovered these definitions and distinctions are imprecise. I saw a reference to "word-based art" recently. I think there are some basic concepts, but ultimately it's a matter of trusting and respecting the artist's vision.


Cheryl, you remind me I must get the Reed Altemus Edition. OK, back to jousting with windmills.

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on November 30, 2011 at 2:45pm

Two very striking art works by Matt! Can they be also "Asemic writing"?

Once color and forms develop from just typed or linear script, vispo soars!

Great blog, Sloan...(now get to those windmills ;-)



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