BRIAN KIM STEF ANS Jamie Hilder, Designed Words for a Designed World: The International Concrete Poetry Movement 1955–1971. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016. xvi + 277 pp. $100.00; $37.95 paper. amie Hilder’s first savvy move in this highly readable, compelling book is to focus on a work of concrete poetry that could never be identie fi d with the pictorial, playful, or Pop―Mary Ellen Solt’s often-anthologized “Forsythia,” for example. Instead, Hilder focuses on a work that is nearly Brutal- ist in its severity (were it to be architecture) or uncompromising in its minimalism like a painting by Malevich or Ad Reinhardt, the plinth of 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the dark blocks that punctuate Donald Barthelme’s story “The Explanation.” Austrian artist Heinz Gappmayr’s “Zeichen” (Sign) from 1965, reproduced just before the start of the first chapter of Designed Words, teases the eye: the edges of the black, filled-in square seem frayed, as if a cat got to them, suggesting that the materiality of this imaginary box is more akin to yarn than polished steel. Looking closer, one discerns that these frays are, in fact, shards of lee tt rforms: “[M]aybe the top of an up - percase O, or
Contemporary Literature – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Apr 10, 2018
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