Cover of Typewriter Art by IUOMA member Fatima Queiroz (Gonzaga-Santos, Brazil)
October 27, 2014 - The visual poetry and mail-art networks have been interconnected for many years; books and zines are frequently exchanged. I am honored to have received a signed and inscribed copy of Typewriter Art from Fatima Queiroz. Fifty copies have been made, and the book totals 36 pages of consistently gorgeous and compelling work.
With the current high interest in visual poetry, there has been a rediscovery of typewriter art and the related practice and history of concrete poetry. Old typewriters, largely an obsolete means of production, are being rehabilitated and used again in composition, eschewing at least temporarily digital aesthetics. (Ironically, digital work is being made as well to look as if it were made by a typewriter in a sort or reverse engineering or de-technologizing).
Concrete poetry, due to the historical era of its prominence, was widely produced on typewriters and thus has become associated with that primitive industrial technology, even if the relationship is far more tenuous than it seems. Concrete poetry seems to be widely considered a precursor to contemporary vispo, which also is likely a misunderstanding of the relationship.
Fatima Queiroz is a highly respected and versatile Brazilian visual poet. Her work tends to be language-centered but often reflects the cutting edge of digital aesthetics and the concerns of contemporary vispo. It is her intimate knowledge of typewriter art and concrete poetry that has enabled her to look back in time and create this extended work where every composition is a revelation. It is an undertaking well worth the effort and would not have been nearly as successful in other hands.
For this blog, I am presenting representative examples of the range of work included in Typewriter Art. Present are both dense compositions that engulf the page and works that are more minimal. Some of the work is abstract, some representational (leaning toward typewriter art rather than concrete poetry) and some more traditionally poetic:
From Typewriter Art by Fatima Queiroz (Gonzaga-Santos, Brazil)
To view Typewriter Art as a nostalgic journey or an exercise in retro-po is to miss its brilliance. This is not a gathering of imitations. Fatima Querioz is highly conversant in the techniques of typewriter composition, and her use of the techniques is both a record and source of wonder as one turns the pages.
The book also displays an intimate knowledge of the modes of concrete poetry and the underlying theory that informs it. In fact, much of the work is so successful because it breaks the rules of concrete poetry from the Age of the Typewriter and the Age of Print. The consistent use of overstriking is only one example that tells us this is work composed very much using sensibilities of the current era reflecting on the accumulation of texts using retro-stylization, façades that appear and then meld into other configurations: a standard tool of postmodernism.
Thus, Typewriter Art is very much a contemporary work that plays with style, theory and technology on a very sophisticated level rather than an empty homage to a previous era.
And it is a particularly beautiful collection to experience again and again.
Deepest thanks to Fatima for sending us this tremendous book!