I confess that when I first saw these pieces my first thought was not "wow these are perfect examples of minimalist concrete poetry!" But there is something magical about them. At first glance it might be easy to just file these away under the title of asemic writing and be done--but it wasn't so easy. One thing you miss in the digital versions shown here is the effect of the bristol board they're written on. There is a heft to the pages and richness to the texture of the writing that you just don't get unless you're holding these in your hands, in full daylight. There is a tension set up between the definite substantiality of the form with the edge-of-sense insubstantiality of asemic letterforms. Clean, crisp, simple and almost endlessly rich in what they yield under sustained attention. Maybe these aren't prime examples of minimalist concrete poetry by the strictest of definitions. Maybe the strictest of definitions should relax a bit and learn to enjoy something lovely.
These images are thumbnails which have been significantly reduced. Hopefully they're too small for you to just eyeball and think you've gotten away with seeing all there is to see. Click on them, they get really BIG, and are worth the (possible) scroll to the right. I promise.
Christophe Casamassima is the editor of Ambit : Journal of Poetry & Poetics and proprietor, with his wife Sarah, of Furniture Press in Baltimore. His texts and objects have appeared in many print and on-line journals (you do the work...). His books include (you do the work...) His latest project involves finally reading Joyce's 'Ulysses' from cover to cover and writing (who can read it without writing at the same time?) 19 blocks of text that correspond to each chapter (plus one added to the fourteenth because it's so goshdarn thick). If anyone would like a copy to read, talk about how he "did the work" and liked it (enough to write him) - write him @ furniture_press at graffiti.net