Ascender / Descender

dada-beaulieu2.0Achill Island, Ireland: red fox press, 2016.

available for order here.

Silence is one of a collection of small hand made artists’ books dedicated to experimental, concrete and visual poetry, or any work combining text and visual arts in the spirit of dada or fluxus.

 

 

*****

The Unbearable Contact with Poets
page1Manchester: if p then q press, 2015.

available for order here.

The Unbearable Contact with Poets, derek beaulieu’s second selection of essays and reviews, is essential reading. A keen and shrewd essayist, he marks himself out as one of the key commentators on contemporary concrete and conceptual poetry. The selection includes a substantial review of concrete poetry by women, an exploration into concrete and conceptual poetic representations of the holocaust, alongside interviews with Tony Trehy, Natalie Simpson and Gregory Betts, as well as lots more.

*****

kern-derek-beaulieu-cover-front-featureKern
Los Angeles: Les Figues, 2014.

available for order here.

Proposed as a collection of imaginary logos for the corporate sponsors of Borges’ Library of Babel, Kern balances on a precipice between the visual and nonsensical, offering poems just out of meaning’s reach. Using dry-transfer lettering, derek beaulieu made these concrete pieces by hand, building the images gesturally in response to shapes and patterns in the letters themselves. This is poetry closer to architecture and design than confession, in which letters are released from their usual semantic duties as they slide into unexpected affinities and new patterns. Kern highlights the gaps inside what we see and what we know, filling the familiar with the singular and the just seen with the faintly remembered.

“The detritus of signage is all around us. The poems in Derek Beaulieu’s riveting new collection begin by resembling the signs, logos & slogans of everyday life—and then become more & more unreadable. No two of these constellations are alike; each promises something it cannot quite fulfill, as readability, having failed, gives way to lookability. So suggestive are these images that we cannot stop looking, trying to decipher, to arrest the flow. Kern presents moments of poetic nostalgia for the signposts of a past that never fully existed.”—Marjorie Perloff

“Kern tweaks the white space of the page, arranging language while unsettling letters. Machines made not of words, but characters, these poems crank and churn, antiquated material rattling to life beneath Beaulieu’s beau frottage. The eye scans the boggled mass, seeing patterns within the patter as words stutter and boil while D.B. minds our b’s and q’s, p’s and d’s.”—Amaranth Borsuk

“Do letters have lives? We have to wonder, seduced as we are by the antics of these characters. The tradition of taking alphabetic forms & making them into suggestive glyphs has a complex history in the signs of masons, brands, trademarks, monograms & graphical poetics. In Beaulieu’s Kern the principle of enjambment is put to poetic purpose. Kern is a living demonstration that poetry is about unleashing the potential of combinatoric protocols to drive the performative art of letters on a page.”—Johanna Drucker

*****

Please, no more poetry: the poetry of derek beaulieu
dobson-beaulieuEdited by Kit Dobson.

Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013.

available for order here.

Since the beginning of his poetic career in the 1990s, derek beaulieu has created works that have challenged readers to understand in new ways the possibilities of poetry. With nine books currently to his credit, and many works appearing in chapbooks, broadsides, and magazines, beaulieu continues to push experimental poetry, both in Canada and internationally, in new directions. Please, No More Poetry is the first selected works of derek beaulieu.

As the publisher of first housepress and, more recently, No Press, beaulieu has continually highlighted the possibilities for experimental work in a variety of writing communities. His own work can be classified as visual poetry, as concrete poetry, as conceptual work, and beyond. His work is not to be read in any traditional sense, as it challenges the very idea of reading; rather, it may be understood as a practice that forces readers to reconsider what they think they know. As beaulieu continues to push himself in new directions, readers will appreciate the work that he has created to date, much of which has become unavailable in Canada.

With an introduction by Kit Dobson and an interview with derek beaulieu by Lori Emerson as an afterword, Please, No More Poetry offers readers an opportunity to gain access to a complex experimental poetic practice through thirty-five selected representative works.

“An engaging cross-section that offers beaulieu’s longtime readers a chance to revisit and rethink his practice while offering new readers an opportunity to explore a variety of innovative linguistic tactics…. By re-orienting beaulieu’s politics … Please, No More Poetry becomes a more engaging book than a simple celebration of an author’s work and accomplishments. It becomes a vital and engaging crossroads where … seemingly opposing sociopolitical fronts can meet and battle it out…. A crucial collection that not only looks back on a brilliant career, but looks toward the future of the medium itself, offering a sampling of innovative writing strategies and seeking a place for poets that is relevant, valuable, and meaningful in the contemporary world.”

— Eric Schmaltz, Lemon Hound

“A solid cross-section that serves as a strong introduction to the poet’s writings, as well as to concrete poetry generally (given the density of beaulieu’s work), the volume will handsomely reward readers seeking to broaden their conceptions of what poetry could be.”

— Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press

*****

xerolage_52_front_coverKern
West Lima: Xexoxial, 2013.

available for order here.

A limited edition overview of beaulieu’s visual poetry, each piece a fragile arrangement of type on vacation.

 

*****

LCLocal Colour: Ghosts, Variations
Malmo, Sweden: PS Malmo / In Edit Mode Press, 2012.

Out of Print.

Local Colour; ghosts, variations takes as its point of departure, Paul Auster’s novella Ghosts, and, in particular, Derek Beaulieu’s reworking of Auster’s text, Local Colour, in which the entirety of Auster’s text has been removed, leaving only the chromatic words spread across the otherwise blank pages as coloured rectangles. Local Colour; Ghosts, variations picks up on the way in which Beaulieu’s piece seems to split Auster’s narrative text open by rendering it purely graphical, freeing it up, by the same gesture, to an excess and a bifurcation of meaning. Seeking to extend and amplify this ambition, the collection invites other writers, poets, musicians, and artists to implement procedures and process that allow them to do Beaulieu what Beaulieu did to Auster; that is, to split his colour rectangles open and see can be done with what is revealed. Contributors include Derek Beaulieu, Steve Giasson, Cia Rinne, Peder Alexis Olsson, Jörgen Gassilewski, Craig Dworkin, Elisabeth Tonnard, Martin Glaz Serup, Eric Zboya, Ola Ståhl, Pär Thörn, Carl Lindh, Cecilie Bjørgås Jordheim, Ola Lindefelt, Andreas Kurtsson, Helen White, Gary Barwin, Magda Tyzlik-Carver and Andy Prior.

 

 

*****

Seen of the Crime
Montreal: Snare, 2011.

Out of Print.

In a series of statements, essays, missives, and informal discussions, seen of the crime surveys the radical edges of Canadian and international poetry; the conceptual and the concrete, the political and the playful. With seen of the crime, derek beaulieu explores the flourishing and frustrating alternatives: poetry without subjectivity, without narrative, without words, and even without letters.

‘Finally, a book about poetry that is actually about poetry. derek beaulieu is quickly proving himself an essential companion to the contemporary.’
~ Sina Queyras

  • Helen Hajnoczky’s review of seen of the crime
  • rob mclennan’s review of seen of the crime
  • Jeroen Nieuwland’s review of seen of the crime
  • Craig Dworkin’s review of seen of the crime (Third Factory / notes to poetry)
  • Jonathan Ball’s review of seen of the crime (Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Seen of the Crime available as a downloadable PDF (UBUWeb)

*****

201114_L-91x300Prose of the Trans-Canada

Toronto: bookthug, 2011.

available for order here.

In 1913 Blaise Cendrars created his monumental Prose of the Trans-Siberian, a milestone in the history of artists books and visual poetry. When the intended edition of 150 copies was laid end-to-end they measured the same length as the height of the symbol of Parisian Modernity, the Eiffel Tower.

derek beaulieu’s prodigious Prose of the Trans-Canada responds to Cendrars’ legacy in a 16″ x 52″ visual poem. When all 150 copies of this limited edition are placed end-to-end, the resultant length is the same as the symbol of Calgarian Modernity, the Calgary Tower.

A towering moment in beaulieu’s on-going exploration of letraset as a medium for concrete poetry, Prose of the Trans-Canada, issued as Moments Cafe No. 8, is published in a strictly limited edition of 150 copies.

  • Gary Barwin discusses Prose of the Trans-Canada at Jacket2
  • Prose of the Trans-Canada appears on the cover of Public Poetics: Critical Issues in Canadian Poetry and Poetics (edited by Bart Vautour, Erin Wunker, Travis V. Mason, Christl Verduyn)
  • Prose of the Trans-Canada is discussed in Cynthia Sugars’ The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Literature
  • Geof Huth reviews Prose of the Trans-Canada on his dbqp: visualizing poetics blog
  • Prose of the Trans-Canada was projected on the side of the Calgary Tower in 2014 in celebration of beaulieu’s being named Calgary’s 2014-16 Poet Laureate

*****

How to Write

Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2010.

available for order here.

How to Write is a perverse Coles Notes: a paradigm of prosody where writing as sampling, borrowing, cutting-and-pasting and mash-up meets literature. This collection of conceptual short fiction takes inspiration from Lautréamont’s decree that “plagiarism is necessary. It is implied in the idea of progress. It clasps the author’s sentence tight, uses his expressions, eliminates a false idea, replaces it with the right idea.”

*****

Silence

Achill Island, Ireland: red fox press, 2010.

available for order here.

Silence is one of a collection of small hand made artists’ books dedicated to experimental, concrete and visual poetry, or any work combining text and visual arts in the spirit of dada or fluxus.

*****

Local Colour

Helsinki, Finland: ntamo, 2008.

Out of print.

Local Colour is a page–by–page interpretation of Paul Auster’s 72–page novella Ghosts. With Local Colour, beaulieu has removed the entirety of Auster’s text, leaving only chromatic words—proper nouns or not—spread across the page as dollops of paint on a palette. What remains is the written equivalent of ambient music—words which are meant to be seen but not read. The colours, through repetition, build a suspense and crescendo which is loosened from traditional narrative into a more pointillist construction.

*****

chains

Kingston, PA: paper kite press, 2008.

Out of Print.

With chains, derek beaulieu once again turns his attention to how “language regards itself, stalks itself, begins, slowly, to eat itself” (Canadian Literature) in a series of graceful abstractions made entirely from antiquated dry-transfer lettering. In chains, letters gather in elegant arrangements, architectural constructions and sinews of meaning.

*****

flatland: a romance of many dimensions

York, UK: information as material, 2007.

Out of print.

“As the Greenbergian modernists proclaimed the flatness of the canvas, so derek beaulieu reduces the page to a flat plane. The result is a new kind of flatness-call it non-illusionistic literature — a depthless fiction, one where image and narrative is reduced to line and shadow. In the great tradition of Picabia, beaulieu creates a perfect work of mechanical writing with one foot in the concrete poetic past and another in the flat screen future.” — Kenneth Goldsmith

*****

fractal economies

Vancouver: talonbooks, 2006.

available for order here

Represent[s] truly the best of beaulieu’s poetic practice.
Prairie Fire Review of Books

*****

frogments from the frag pool: haiku after basho
co-written with Gary Barwin

Toronto: Mercury Press, 2005.

Out of Print.

“Delightful surprises lurk within these pages as Gary Barwin and derek beaulieu examine the old pond, the frog, the splash, and the mind of Basho. From the microscopic “old pond / universes rise & fall / a single splash” to the anthropomorphic “pond holding / its breath…” to the subjective “mind ponding” to the conceptual “splash as a hole in silence” — it’s all here. This book is a grand addition to the reverberation of Basho’s splash” — Nelson Ball

*****

with wax

Toronto:  Coach House Books, 2003.

available for order here

“derek beaulieu’s with wax is language stuffed with its own stuff. History is still hot with ink and determined to track, map and print wherever it can stamp its boots. It understands its own fibres and surfaces, leaves its mark both on the page and in the grooves of its own moveable type. Watch your floors and walls, these words leak everywhere.” — Larissa Lai