Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Oyvind Fahlstrom

was a Swedish poet (born in Brazil, however)of the 1950s and 60s, and founder of the Concretist movement. I've been reading Teddy Hultberg's book about him, Manipulate the World, at the same time as I've been reading the poems for the NY School class I'm in at the moment, and I have repeatedly been struck by how tame the NY School is in comparison (Make no mistake: I am a fan of their work, have been for a long time, while I've just discovered the Concretists). I read these articles where Kenneth Kock talks about experimenting with collaborations, treating it as if it was something very daring. Now I realize I'm totally decontextualizing etc, but in comparison Kock's and O'Hara's experiments seem very academic and self-conscious (Though it still seems to me that the Ashberry of the second book and on until the 70s really throws down). Fahlstrom doesn't just collaborate with others - for him there seems to be no distinction between painting, drawing, cartoons, poetry, happenings, even board games. It's like he's inside mythology, his life art. I feel there is something about his restlessness that reminds me of Godard's movies. And Godard is the greatest post war Western artist that I can think of so that's pretty high praise. It's a great antidote ot a literature obsessed with disciplining off everything in separate areas and languages, where most poets seem engaged in the craft of writing "poetry." As I don't know how to scan in pictures or put up links, I'll add a description of his work. And also, there's some stuff on Ubu web.


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