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: UK = UnKnown Trashpo (Liverpool, UK)

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Mail art by unknown trashpoet (Liverpool, UK)

We have received some wonderful, D-Klassic, anti-art derived Trashpo from Liverpool in Britain. Unfortunately, we are unable to identify the sender and do not recognize him/her as any DKULTUK member we know. We are exceedingly grateful to receive this mail art. The work is on a small, almost delicate, scale and reflects considerable understanding of Trashpo and/or its antecedents.

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These are very small pieces, the largest hardly an inch wide. Our trashpoet has been very discerning in terms of the textual aspect, color and texture. Thus the work has a haptic dimension. The envelope is fantastic:

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And the reverse:

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We cannot place an “L.C.S.” but consider him/her a very fine trashpoet/mail artist. Whether we eventually make a connection or not, deepest thanks to L.C.S.

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: Printerpo by FinnBadger (Columbus, Ohio, USA)

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Mail art by Finn Badger (Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Not long ago, we were thrilled to document a FAB Trashbook by FinnBadger. An online discussion about said work (if we are remembering correctly) touched on topics such as the artistic use of randomness, found materials and glitch art. Mostly due to Diane Keys’ work in the area, glitch art (often produced by digital malfunctions) has become associated with Trashpo in the mail art network. “Scannerbed compositions” (art made by improvised arrangement of material on a scannerbed and then quickly copied) has also become associated with Trashpo.

This provides a context for this interesting new piece sent by FinnBadger. It is a sturdy piece of carboard, approximately 5 X 7 inches, with unaltered, glitched text that looks to us like concrete poetry. To many viewers, this might appear to be nothing more than a piece of unremarkable cardboard. In the realm of Fluxus and DaDa – where distinctions between art and life are always a topic of scrutiny – the piece holds a certain fascination. FinnBadger wrote his explanation on the other side:

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Thus FinnBadger officially adds Printerpo (we do not believe we have seen the term before) to the Trashpo Lexicon and the digital avant. Let’s try some other takes on the printerpo:

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And even closer:

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A certain element among conceptualists favors the production of art and writing by machines with as little human involvement as possible. (Or is that from 1984?) FinnBadger has taken both the conceptualist and machine-generated route here. The use of found material, at this point in time, is a kind of classicism.

We greatly appreciate having this interesting work for the archives!

MinXus Mail Bag: Cryptic Contraband by Lucky Pierre (Charleston, South Carolina, USA)

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Mail art by Lucky Pierre (Charleston, South Carolina, USA)

We offer a warm “Howdy” and extend a secret MinXus handshake to Lucky Pierre who makes her first appearance upon our illustrious blog with this most captivating work.

To many Tenderfoots, Lucky Pierre is a network presence shrouded in mystery. So it is not surprising that this art she sent us is deeply mysterious. We might call this piece an object poem, only it is more like a prop from a lost film noir classic. We were deeply impressed by the delicate print carefully protected on a postcard-size piece of cardboard.

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Then we discovered there is more to this piece than a wonderful print. Beneath the print there is a secret compartment containing a small bone blade suspended on the string. We had removed and replaced the print several times before realizing the cardboard strip is meant to be raised. That is due to the fact that we are very cautious about dismantling mail art, having done irreparable damage to work in the past. So the compartment seemed secret to us. We will go with that. The concept of concealment is built into this art regardless of how you spin it. This is a work about concealment on many levels.

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We might offer some backstory about why we received a bone blade from Lucky Pierre. But we believe the cryptic quality of the work, the puzzle regarding the relationship among the signs assembled in this mail art is the core of what makes it fascinating. The viewer must fill in the narrative gaps.

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The blade is also suggestive of a key. The envelope is equally fantastic, especially the leaping mink:

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And the reverse:

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Deepest thanks to Lucky Pierre, and welcome to MinXus-Lynxus!

Remix: Two Asemic Object Poems by Karen Champlin (Highland Park, Illinois, USA)


Asemic object poem (2010) by Karen Champlin (Highland Park, Illinois, USA)



Asemic object poem (2010) by Karen Champlin (Highland Park, Illinois, USA)

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!

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