UbuWeb’s Visual Poetry section has just been updated with over 80 new texts including exceedingly rare editions of d.a.levy’s magazines The Buddhist Thirdclass Junkmail Oracle and The Marrahwanna Quarterly and Ed Sander’s Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts. Complementing these magazines are PDFs of scarce editions by Canadian visual poets David UU, John Riddell and bpNichol; Americans Johanna Drucker and Rosmarie Waldrop and International practicioners such as Max Ernst, Marcel Broodthaers and Bob Cobbing. This update focuses on small press magazines and highlights rarely-seen radical work in collage, overprinting and machine-based visual poetry.
UbuWeb began as an online repository for concrete and visual poetry scanned from aging anthologies and re-imagined as back-lit transmissions from a potential future. As the archive has progressed, the concentration on visual poetry has waned in favour of an reconnoitering of diverse avant-gardes. UbuWeb’s Visual Poetry section exposes little-seen exemplars of historical praxis and models of contemporary insight to a wider audience. This section includes anthologies, ephemeral publications, criticism and sporadic journals dedicated to visual poetry. Due to the elusive and ephemeral nature of concrete and visual poetry publications, there is a perceived lack of innovation in the genre. Without exposure to radical practice, artistic precedent and innovative models, concrete poets too often fall back upon familiar tropes and unchallenging forms. UbuWeb’s Visual Poetry section is not presented under the rubric of historical coverage or indexical completeness, but rather as a document of isolate moments of what Haroldo de Campos argued was a “notion of literature not as craftsmanship but […] as an industrial prcoess” where the poem is a “prototype” rather than the “typical handiwork of artistic artistry.” — derek beaulieu