MinXus Mail Bag: Vispo Collabs by Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

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Mail art by Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

This summer we received two large packages of mail art from visual poet Jim Leftwich in Roanoke, the first of which (chronologically) we are documenting in this blog. The vast majority of the pieces are collaborations between Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow. (The exception is one very interesting asemic work at the end.) According to Facebook, Evan Damerow resides in New Zealand. His work was unknown to us before the arrival of this missive.

While Jim Leftwich seems to us inclined toward the prolific naturally, we attribute some of this outpouring of work this summer to the 2015 Marginal Arts Festival. The event seems to have been a great success and a perusal of the documentation will be rewarding to Tenderfoots, no doubt:

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The Anti-Brain Rot mail art call and exhibition also accompanied the festival, which occurred in July (2015). Here is some partial documentation of the entries via C. Mehrl Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA):


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Unless otherwise indicated, all the pieces shown here are Jim Leftwich-Evan Damerow collabs.

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These Leftwich-Damerow collabs hold specific interest to the trashpoets and D-Kulters in the network (many of whom are rabid followers of our humble blog), as Jim Leftwich is acknowledged as having created some of the earliest Trashpo (2005). These pieces (the current work shown here) use found material, have the organic structure so recognizable in most Trashpo and also show the anti-art stance and the On the Road spontaneity of Trashpo composition.

Trashpo is a form of visual poetry. (Many current practitioners are either unaware of or disregard this fact). The pieces documented here make abundant and innovative use of text, text-image associations and juxtapositions, cut up, disruption, asemics and other approaches that are related to poetry and the poetic as well as the tenets of Trashpo rather than mere collage. In short, they are excellent examples. The work transcends Trashpo in many ways yet still offers insights into Trashpo theory and practice for the working trashpoet.

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A bonus in the package was the piece below: “Spirit Writing” by Jim Leftwich (1997), a piece of historical significance because it was made so early in the context of the current thriving and burgeoning asemic movement. Jim Leftwich, however, and as many know, has reservations concerning the use of the term “asemic” and having his own work labeled as asemic writing. So we encourage Tenderfoots to consider the perspective of visual poetry here, although we believe the tide of history is very likely to identify Jim Leftwich as an asemic writer (among other designations):

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A closer look:

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Many thanks to Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow!

MinXus Mail Bag: “Organized Chaos” by Erin Young (Innisfil, Ontario, Canada)

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Mail art by Erin Young (Innisfil, Ontario, Canada)

A big “Howdy,” a secret MinXus handshake and a wink go out to our new north-of-the border Tenderfoot Erin Young who so kindly sent us this stunning mail art. This is a wonderful abstract piece and roughly post-card-size. Information is included on the reverse side:

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Erin Young is wowing the network with the FAB pieces she is mailing. Based on what we see appearing online, she has a wide-ranging talent. This piece that we are so thrilled to add to the archives explores chaos and order. The colors are wonderful and the work has a tactile, haptic dimension as well. For us, the piece does invoke the idea of chaos; but it has the suggestion of underlying unity and structure as well, especially in terms of shape. Here is a related piece that was also enclosed:

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This was a very helpful inclusion in terms of understanding the process, and note the finger painting. Erin also included a kind note:

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These (above) arrived in an envelope:

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And the reverse:

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Many thanks to Erin Young!

MinXus Mail Bag: “Posturban Wildlife at Night” by Joey Patrickt (Oakland, California, USA)

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Mail art by Joey Patrickt (Oakland, California, USA)

Joey Patrickt sent us this highly conceptual, textual-visual work that raises questions about meaning and randomness, among other issues. Our approach is to see the various pieces posted here as a single, unified artwork. The puzzle stands at the center.

The pieces in the envelope reveal his keen sense of humor and irony as well as his ability to construct systems and structures. Initially, we appreciated Joey Patrickt’s ability to create self-contained, postcard-style pieces that have instant appeal in the network. But as this and other pieces we have received from him indicate, he has formidable talent as a conceptualist who can put together a compelling package.

The majority of the material is cut from old publications:

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And the reverse:

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Joey Patrickt references “POSTURBAN,” but this mail art conjures the postmodern. The work focuses on the process of weaving materials together into structures and designs. These objects can express meaning but also have both spiritual and utilitarian functions. Also included is a piece about floors:

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Absurdity is working here, as is Joey Patrickt’s ongoing critique of consumer culture. Are vinyl floors and oriental carpets being purposely placed in relation to each other? The unaltered page has the quality of Trashpo mailings, which often contain this kind of unadorned found material. The purpose is ambiguous. and this piece of mail art retains ambiguity. The recipient can view such inclusions as finished art or use it in a new piece or simply pass it along. Here is the reverse side:

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“POSTURBAN WILDLIFE AT NIGHT” is, in our estimation, an exceptionally done piece of mail art in the conceptual art strain. We can make the case that it is a thoughtfully constructed system intended to make a point about process and meaning. Yet a tension exists where the tropes that establish its meaning threaten to collapse into an envelope of nothing but old magazine clippings and a plastic puzzle. Many people must view it that way. And it is precisely the “shadow of doubt” that gives the work its true strength. We are compelled to consider what is and is not art. We are compelled to consider the relation of constructs to reality. We can glimpse – perhaps just for a moment – a place where art and life are a unified whole. Many thanks, again, to Joey Patrickt!.

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Mail Art Call by Jim Leftwich for Roanoke/Collab Fest – Deadline Approaching! (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

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Some Tenderfoots know him simply as “Jesus Jim,” inventor of Trashpo.

Others know him as Jim Leftwich, a visual poet and theorist of great distinction. Regardless, if you visit our humble blog then you are called upon to send mail art to this year’s event in Virginia, which is associated with the former Marginal Arts Festival.

Note that the deadline is June 27, 2015!


422 Walnut SE#2

Roanoke, VA 24014-USA

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For more information:


MinXus Mail Bag: Iconic Trashpo by Tomoe Nakamura (Osaka, Japan)

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Mail art by Tomoe Nakamura (Osaka, Japan)

Thanks to rapid circulation on the internet, this piece by Tomoe Nakamura has already reached iconic status among trashpoets and D-Kulters. We are thrilled that Tomoe Nakamura has chosen the MinXus USA archives as the repository for this amazing work. Here is the reverse side:

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Explaining the work, Tomoe Nakamura has written: “Here I finish the ‘a fish got caught with plastic’ piece. I also added medicine case I picked up on the street. (It was already smashed and wet like it’s been there for a while…)”

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A close up:

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And the reverse:

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We are thrilled Tomoe Nakamura is participating in the mail art network. We congratulate her on all the contributions she is making, especially for her work with found material and recycling. We extend our deepest thanks for this work she sent.

MinXus Mail Bag: Object Poem by Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)


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Mail art by Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

Richard Canard is an encyclopedia of avant forms and tropes that have traveled from numerous sources into the mail art network. He frequently puts theory into practice, and we are always interested in the results. For instance, we like to see how Richard does minimalism, or how Richard does vispo, or how Richard does erasure, etc. Thus we are very pleased to have received this compelling and aesthetically pleasing object poem from our faithful correspondent in Carbondale, Illusion. Richard Canard is no stranger to the form. Some of his contributions to the genre are even notorious. He sent a flattened aluminum can with tire tread indentations to vispo guru Goef Huth. Richard proclaimed it an asemic object poem.

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In traditional poetry, an object poem is verse written about an object. Ekphrasis – a poem about a painting for instance – is a kind of object poetry. To the left of things, however, the object poem idea has become literal: The poem is a physical object. So we are adopting Dick Higgins’ view of object poetry. Furthermore, we contend that an effective object poem is not merely language inscribed upon an object; replacing paper with stone does not necessarily make adequate use of the possibilities of the form. Indeed, language need not even be present if the object conveys the “poetic,” however one might define that.

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In a case where language is present in the object poem, the object must inherently contribute to the meaning of the poem and, thus, become part of its form. Thus we find a materialist view at work similar to ideas underlying concrete poetry. Richard Canard’s “MARASHINO” fulfills our criteria perfectly. The red circular tag, string and hole work with the minimalist text to create the poem. If any of these elements were removed, the poem would fall into total incoherence; disruption of representation is clearly not Richard Canard’s intention. Disruption of poetic tradition might be.

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Thanks, as ever, to Richard Canard!

MinXus Mail Bag: Moan Lisa Applies to the MinXus-Lynxus School of Beauty & Cosmology (North Liberty, Iowa, USA)

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Mail art by Moan Lisa (North Liberty, Iowa, USA)

Based on comments Moan Lisa posted elsewhere, we assume this mail art recently received is Moan’s formal application to the MinXus-Lynxus School of Beauty & Cosmology. This application-object poem is a complete edition of Ezra Pound’s Selected Poems published by New Directions. As you can see, the book is sealed with tape. Instructions say: DO NOT OPEN. We did anyway, and the book is in good shape and completely readable. We enjoyed revisiting a few Pound classics.

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Moan Lisa did attend the Martha Stuart School of Asemic Wallpaper (defunct) but dropped out. So did many other people. Moan Lisa, who led an Anti-MinXus movement not long ago, is far too advanced to be a student at the MinXus School of Beauty or a Tenderfoot at the Mink Ranch for that matter. We will consider some sort of special appointment.

Here are some old MinXus School of Beauty promotional materials:

MinXus School of Beauty

minxus poster 3.22.2014


Many thanks to Moan Lisa for this and other mail art recently received.

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