Some of my early text and word works - five examples are provided in this section - are reminiscent of Concrete poetry, a genre that gained international stature in the early 1950's. Concrete poet, Emmett Williams eloquently describes the intent of the makers of these poems: The visual element in their poetry tended to be structural, a consequence of the poem, a 'picture' of the lines of force of the work itself, and not merely textual. It was a poetry that used, in Williams' words: The semantic, visual and phonetic elements of language as raw materials in a way seldom used by the poets of the past. (Williams 1967) While the connection between the text and word works in this section and most Concrete poetry is to some extent a matter of 'visuality,' my text and word works tend to be self-referential in a semantic sense. That is, these works are concerned with their own lexical structure, similar to some forms of Concrete poetry, but without lending the words or material a 'pictorial' quality, for example, where the typography of the work has an iconic aspect. These word and text works, then, seem more related to Conceptual art than Concrete poetry. This understanding raises the possibility that there is a spectrum of creative language use, with text or word works related to Conceptual art at one end of the spectrum and more orthodox poetry at the other, with Concrete poetry somewhere in between. Typography, spacing and how words are placed on the page in relation to each other are not the main differences between these three approaches to language use. The primary differences are either 'pictorial' and or referential.
Anthology of Concrete Poetry, Emmett Williams, Editor. Something Else Press, 1967. p. vi.
For a late conceptual approach to the use of text art see my Trilogy of bookworks in the following archive.