Archive of: Tallmo, Karl-Erik

12 by Karl-Erik Tallmo

In the anthology, Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry, (Rothenberg, Jerome & Joris, Pierre), there is this:

"a reduction of the poem to a sign (often in bold typography, sometimes in color) that typically eliminated syntax & even words themselves, thus offered up an image open to interpretation (reading) at a single glance."

I think this describes an ideal state that a healthy percentage of concrete poetry works towards--to be immediately apprehended in the way a road sign or (since we're here in the land of navigational iconography) a navigational icon is. Slipping in under the threshold of awareness, the twisting scalpel of subverted meaning can strike that much deeper, and be that much more effective. Here, I have a better idea, how about if I let Karl-Erik Tallmo show you what I mean.

Please note these are full-sized images, not thumbnails. You may click to your heart's content, but they will not become any larger.


Swedish road signs # 1 (1999)



Swedish road signs # 2 (1999)



Swedish road signs # 3 (1999)



Swedish road signs # 4 (1999)



Swedish road signs # 5 (1999)



Swedish road signs # 6 (1999)



Swedish road signs # 7 (1999)



Swedish road signs # 8 (1999)



Swedish road signs # 9 (1999)



Swedish road signs # 10 (1999)



American road signs # 1 (1999)



American road signs # 2 (1999)



Karl-Erik Tallmo is a Swedish writer, artist, lecturer and publisher of the cultural web magazine The Art Bin. Tallmo was born in 1953 and has written three books, including Sweden's first hypertext novel (1992). He started writing concrete poetry in the 60's while still in high school. His debut as an artist took place at an exhibition in Karlskoga, Sweden, in 1970, with among other pieces a poem in the form of nine glass jars. In the 70's, influenced by musical minimalists such as Terry Riley and Steve Reich, he started to write text permutations and texts that gradually change through repetitive patterns etc. He has also been writing articles and criticism in newspapers and magazines for thirty years. During the 1990's he participated as an expert in governmental investigations on new media in Sweden, and he was also a member of several advisory boards, e.g. at the Royal Library and at the Swedish Research Council.

He is presently working on an artist book titled "Visual Iris Open" which will be published on demand at his web site and will be exhibited at a gallery in Stockholm starting December 3rd.

For more more details on this and other works by Karl-Erik Tallmo, please visit his website at