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Concrete Poetry collection

ID #
Level of Description
Fonds / Collection

Scope & Content

Collection contains works of concrete poetry, which is a form of poetry typified by its intermediality. It derives its meaning from both the content and style of the poetry, as well as the visual arrangement of the poetry. It originated, in its modern form, from the experimental atmosphere of the post World War II era. Many of the forefathers of the genre, such as Rühm, Oswald Wiener, Max Bense, Eugen Gomringer, and Décio Pignatari, came out of the German-speaking areas of Europe and the "Noigandres" group of Brazil. These artists aligned concrete poetry with post war urbanity and often had ties to other disciplines, such as industry and architecture.

The movement expanded to encompass a much larger group of geographically dispersed poets when Eugen Gomringer opened a press in Frauenfeld, Switzerland in 1958 for publishing concrete poetry and, under the editorship of Max Bense and Elisabeth Walther, the published series rot began in Stuttgart, Germany in the early 1960s. Both Gomringer’s press and rot published concrete poetry from a wide variety of international sources and, as a result, were two of the major catalysts for the movement and its international expansion, which grew to include artists like bill bissett, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and Öyvind Fahlström.

The Concrete Poetry collection consists of monographs, limited edition books and artists’ books, drawings, posters, prints, cards, boxes, wrappers, video recordings, and various small sculptures. The collection encompasses a growing number of concrete poems and material related to concrete poetry from a large number of artists and it is intended that this collection will continue to accrue examples of concrete poetry and scholarship about the genre.

The collection includes two series:

  1. Concrete Poetry series (3.1)
  2. Peter Day series (3.2)
Majority of the materials are English, with some materials in French, Spanish and other languages.

Physical Description

Physical Extent
15 m of textual records and other material
Material Type
Textual record, Graphic material, Moving images, Object

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Descriptions are works in progress and may be updated as new descriptive practices, research and information emerge. To help improve this record, please contact us.

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