MinXus Mail Bag: A sheaf of verbal-visual pieces by Carlyle Baker (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada)

Carl - 3.15.2014 - 1

“Diagram” – mail-art by Carlyle Baker (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada)

                                              This is Part I of a two-part series

We are thrilled to have received a hefty sheaf of mail-art by Carlyle Baker, which we are sharing with Tenderfoots in two parts. As we understand it, Carlyle Baker is not comfortable with the term “visual poetry” but is more receptive to Bob Grumman’s “verbal-visual” designation. This verbal-visual collection displays Carlyle’s range as well as consistent elements of his style.

His work tends to be language-centered (whereas other visual poets have moved purely into the realm of the image). He frequently uses asemics and has roots in classical concrete poetry: Geometry and repetition (above) provide structure; yet his work as a whole has considerable variance from the classic, using overstriking and allowing for fluidity and organic form. At MinXus-Lynxus we are receptive to the full range of visual poetry today but must admit a subjective preference for Carlyle Baker’s work and similar work still clearly anchored in language.

Carl - 3.15.2014 - 2

“Secret Room”

Most of the work in this bundle is black and white. There certainly is a practical element (the high cost of toner cartridges) to sending black and white when circulating work to mail-art friends. Black and white pieces (even b&w versions of color pieces) do have an aesthetic allure as well, which can range from a retro quality to the starkness seen in much conceptual poetry.

Carl - 3.15.2014 - 3

“Henry Miller Tree”

This complex and fascinating piece reveals the organic and non-linear elements of Carlyle Baker’s work. Asemic symbols are present, mixed with visual images; and the work is deeply cryptic.

Carl - 3.15.2014 - 4

“Artificial Treatment”

This piece explores the territory of grids that have attracted so many concrete and visual poets.

Carl - 3.15.2014 - 5


A tremendous asemic text!

Carl - 3.15.2014 - 6

Pre Historic

This piece by Carlyle Baker is far more dependent on visual image and shows the strong connection to collage in certain types of visual-verbal texts.

Carl - 3.15.2014 - 7

Deepest thanks to Carlyle Baker! Stay tuned for Part II!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Verbal-visual mail-art by Carlyle Baker (Peterborough, Canada) – Part II | MinXus-Lynxus

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