Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tip of the Knife, Issue 3

Greetings!  To introduce Tip Of The Knife #3 we'd like to present the essays and labors of some of the patriarchs in our field.  Their words and images have guided two generations of visual poetry (at least), have relevance today, and will continue to be important as the coil of time spirals outward.

I imagine a day when people will have implants/operations/wetware to plug into an infinite data bank of visual poetry which will have everything from everyone.  Eventually, these beings will reach a point of information endlessness, and visual poetry will become a mystical experience.

Look carefully, and you can have that experience right here, today, right now.

Crag Hill:
Three Recipes for Tip of the Knife 3

If you can’t read the world without words, without paraphrase, take up this knife. Touch it with the fingertips of your eyes, pupil and iris sliding over the edge. Run the knife across your arms, your chest, your thighs. Read the images that rise on skin and flow beneath.

If you can’t see anything on or in your skin, take this knife and draw it across your eyeballs. Gather up the images that spill out. Feel their heft; pass them from hand to hand. Let the images flow off your fingers onto your face, down your chin and you’re your chest, your legs, to the floor, the ultimate palimpsest, the page we all scuff with our passing.

If you still can’t see anything on your body or on the ground around you, etch a circle around your skull. Lift off the scalp, placing it carefully in your lap, bottom up. Scoop out your brain and place it into the bowl of skull. Knead your brain, first gently then firmly, ending with robust wringing motions, extracting as much liquid as you can. Replace your brain. Breath into the fluid; listen with your eyes to the images that murmur across and within the pool.

Karl Kempton:
Nearly all action, especially artistic expression, has its psychological element that is open to interpretation. An object, such as a knife, when spoken of or written about, has a spectrum ranging from literal usage, too often associated with a blood and guts mentality, to a coded symbolic meaning, sometimes associated with the transcendent. Poetic expression often can be tied to the literal and thus limited to the fourth dimension, time. As such, the work generally becomes an historic artifact, a dead noun. Or, it can be a living artifact occupying the timeless moment of now, a verb. To compose a visual poem aiming not for ego gratification nor mundane material manipulation, a time piece, but from a spectrum beginning with nourishing others to awe inspiring timelessness, razor sharp discrimination is required.

So, the question is, “What direction will this web publication choose? Will it be the Blood that rapidly dries and as quickly flakes off in the winds of time, or the Light of high awe inspiring timelessness?

CHEWED 2010:


 laying brick 1

 laying brick 2

laying brick 3

Dale Jensen:
Poetry is and always has been a four-dimensional art form. In live performance, a poet is physically present in three dimensions, and the performance itself stretches over the fourth dimension, time. On the page or on the static computer screen, the poem is actively presented in two dimensions; the third dimension is more passively engaged in the distance from the viewer's eye to the page or screen, and the fourth dimension in the time the viewer takes to read or observe the poem. Thus, all four dimensions have been involved in the presentation of poetry for thousands of years.

But we are now at the start of a new era, one in which the on-screen poem can be actively presented in more than two dimensions. Animation in general, and computer animation in particular, has seldom been involved in the visual construction of poetry, but, with the development in the last few years of computer animation techniques and the spread of computer-based on-screen publication, words and images can extend themselves directly and naturally into the fourth dimension. 

Think about the development of concrete and visual poetry and about Charles Olson's idea of projective verse, both of which expand the poem beyond the line and onto the page, using the page as an open field on which any manner of visual expression and placement can happen, and in which placement can imply time in the ways in which it guides the eye through, into, or upon the poem. Time is used in projective, concrete, and visual poetry, but the representation of time on the page is essentially passive: It is the viewer's eye that is the active agent of the fourth dimension. 

Now, with the development of computer animation, the poem itself can become active in the fourth dimension. Words can move by themselves across and up and down the screen, grow large and shrink small, change color and font, morph into other words. Images can move, morph, wiggle, bounce, change their relationship to other images, swallow other images and give birth to new ones. Elements of a collage can change, changing the collage itself and expressing a progression of ideas. Voice and sound can be added to text and image. 

Radically new things, then, can be done with computer-animated poetry.  And computer animation may help bring the poem back to what may have been its original relationship to the four dimensions: The poet dances in front of the fire, chanting and gesturing, actively bringing four dimensions of meaning and beauty into play at the same time.

n a hot kITCHen

CATch the fASt ketchup
beFoRE thcat's
awaKENness runs
in TOdaY's childhood's

Harry Polkinhorn:
I am writing this in the dark. The eye has been mistaken for a globe in the skull.  The whole body is an eye with which to see a poem, another way of saying feel its line and beat as they mark off measures of a life. Someone drugged the brain, now scrambling for an opening through the pupil. All poems are visual in an imaginal field that scores a trench or fosse in the mind’s mucosal lining made up of neuromuscular junctures flashing away night and day. Her­­­­­­­­­­­­­­e movement registers the spirit of an otherwise dead world locked down in its inexplicable myositis. Use your eyes to figure it out, the eyes in your face and hands and colon.

Bob Grumman:
My Poetics (56 Word Essay)
Better the undomesticated reasonings of a March/April meadow than any garden's serenity, and much more than an order of magic higher than its flowers' fulfilled wishes, even in their rarest coloring, yet no more than equal, at best, to the radiance of "ndbepx." in its ascent beyond blood and sight into a mind's final regnancy.





Peter Ciccariello
Luc Fierens
Christine Tarantino
Iker Spozio
Gary Barwin
Bill DiMichele

Peter Ciccariello:

textual artifacts - map of the kindness of strangers III 

textual artifacts VIII - when we were fluent

Luc Fierens:






Christine Tarantino:






Gary Barwin:



 TONGUE valley

y copy

Bill DiMichele:
Excerpts from Go On Quicker:







Kempton's newest book can be found at <>
forth coming books  from avantacular press -- chewed (2005/6 selections), wired (with loris essary in 1985/86 & deep square wave structure)
recent web or forthcoming web published work from 2010 chewed series: <> and due february from word for word, issue 18, <>
Now accepting work for Tip Of The Knife #4 at
Deadline for submissions is April Fools Day.


  1. As one with work in the post, I thank you, Caio. As one with work in the post, however, I have a request: couldjah say why you think the post wonderful? Partly because of my work, for instance. Partly in spite of my work? Sorry for this slightly annoyed comment, but I find way too many comments to blogs and discussion groups to be nothing but close to useless thumbs up or down. On the other hand, it is nice to know when anyone cares enough about something on the net to actually comment! Hardly nobody done does that. So a sincere thanks, anyway. (And the stuff Bill has gathered, aside from mine, is wonderful, isn't it!

    persnickedly yours, Elderly Bob

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