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An Anthology of Concrete Poetry / edited by Emmett Williams | 08-Aug-15

The New Concrete (Hayward Publishing), co-edited by our Poetry Librarian, Chris McCabe, has just been published and added to our collection in July. Here is Chris's Staff Pick from our Poetry Library Open Day 2014, where he celebrated a previous anthology of concrete poetry.

An Anthology of Concrete Poetry / edited by Emmett Williams -- New York : Something Else Press ; Primary Information, 2014, c1967.

Emmett Williams' anthology of concrete poetry, first published in 1967, has become one of the seminal anthologies of the period. So much so, that the book has just been published in a facsimile edition by Primary Information. All of the names now associated with the concrete movement are here, and, happily for the reader, are represented through extended sequences. Highlights include John Furnival's large-scale text sculptures (including his incredible 'Tower of Babel'), Eugen Gomringer's quiet, kinetic masterpieces, including 'Silencio', and Dom Sylvester Houédard's typestracts that were created in a typewriter at Prinknash Abbey but somehow still forecast a future of visual poetry  that we're yet to arrive at. Edwin Morgan shows-off his poetic range with a number of poems, from pattern poems through to poems of erasure. My favourite piece in the book is by Ian Hamilton Finlay whose piece 'Acrobats' was not conceived to occupy a page but "an entire wall above a children's playground." This is a book I return to constantly, especially as I'm co-editing, along with Victoria Bean, a new anthology called The New Concrete which will showcase visual poetry since 2000, making the case that the legacy of the concrete movement is still going strong and that we're still heading towards that promised future of the word-made-visual. 

Chris McCabe
Poetry Librarian 

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