Mary Ellen Solt’s “Concrete Poetry: A World View”

Those interested in the history and development of concrete and visual poetry often refer to An Anthology of Concrete Poetry edited by Emmett Williams and published by Dick Higgins’ Something Else Press in 1967. Another important source with valuable essays is Concrete Poetry: A World View edited by Mary Ellen Solt and published by Indiana University Press in 1970. The essays can be found at Ubu Web:

http://www.ubu.com/papers/solt/index.html

In particular, Solt’s essay on Brazil describes the connection between Modernism (Pound, Joyce, Stein, Cummings and others) and the influential Noigandres group:

http://www.ubu.com/papers/solt/brazil.html

Written at the time of the ascension of Postmodernism, Solt’s essay on concrete poetry in the United States makes strong connections between the work of William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson, Louis Zukofsky, Robert Creeley and Aram Saroyan (among others) and concrete poetry:

http://www.ubu.com/papers/solt/us.html

Since the publication of Concrete Poetry: A World View visual poetry, concrete poetry and now asemic writing have progressed with increasing innovation into a truly global movement. Questions still remain concerning the relationship of these forms to the traditional visual arts and literature. Mary Ellen Solt’s anthology is one important source that, early on, established visual poetry is an aspect of literary Modernism and Postmodernism.

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