Arrière-gardes. Concrete Poetry Redux

Eugen Gomringer

Eugen Gomringer © gezett

Eugen Gomringer (b.1925 in Cachuela Esperanza, Bolivia) is the son of a Bolivian mother and a Swiss father living abroad and grew up in Switzerland. He studied Art History and Economics and was a founder of Concrete Poetry. He spent thirty years writing advertising copy inspired by Concrete Poetry for a department store chain, while also holding professorships in Düsseldorf, Bamberg, Zwickau and Schneeberg. In 2000 he founded the Institute for Constructive Art and Concrete Poetry in the town he had lived in for many years, Rehau in Upper Franconia, where he still lives. His extensive collection of concrete art and poetry formed the basis for the Museum for Concrete Art in Ingolstadt, which opened in 1992.
In 2011 he was awarded the Alice Salomon Poetics Prize for his work. The Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences marked this occasion by placing his 1951 poem ‘ciudad (avenidas)’ on the south face of its building. In 2017 the students’ union objected to this poem being on the wall because it was degrading to women and demanded that it be removed immediately. This sparked off a wide-ranging and heated media debate.
Karl Riha characterises Eugen Gomringer as “the father of the German post-war modern, not only with his programmatic statements but also with extraordinary poetic texts with have retained their power to engage to the present day, and beyond the present day. He is an inventor, in both the technical and the imaginative senses, who has permanently changed the language of literature.”
Gomringer is a member of the PEN Centre of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Bavarian German Work Federation, the Swiss Work Federation and Swiss Industrial Designers.
Gomringer writes in German, Swiss-German, Spanish, French and English.

Publications (selection):
konstellationen, spiral press: Berne 1953
das stundenbuch, Max Hueber Verlag: Munich 1965
Vom Rand nach Innen, die Konstellationen 1951-1995, Collected Works Vol. I, Edition Splitter: Vienna 1995
Theorie der Konkreten Poesie, Texte und Manifeste 1954-1997, Collected Works Band II, Edition Splitter: Vienna1997
Das Stundenbuch: in Kanji und Code, mit Josef Linschinger, Verlag Bibliothek der Provinz: Weitra 2005
100 Jahre Konkrete Kunst - Struktur und Wahrnehmung, Verlag Bibliothek der Provinz: Weitra 2010
admirador. Sonette, Essays, Vorträge, biografische und autobiografische Texte, Prosa und Märchen aus sechzig Jahren, Matthes & Seitz: Berlin 2012
der begegnungen sonette, encounter sonnets (translation into English by Markus Marti), EDITION SIGNAThUR Dozwil: Switzerland 2013

Michael Lentz

Michael Lentz © gezett

Michael Lentz (b. 1964 in Düren, North Rhine-Westphalia) studied German Literature, History and Philosophy and gained his doctorate with a thesis on ‘Media Aspects of Sound Poetry and Music after 1945’. He is known not just as a poet, novelist, literary critic and editor, but also as a performer with wild verbal dexterity. Before winning the Ingeborg Bachmann Competition in Klagenfurt in 2001 with a brilliant performance of his text Muttersterben (Mother’s Death), which made him known to a wider audience, he had already published a volume of prose, ODER, and a book of poems Neue Anagramme (New Anagrams). His first novel, Liebeserklärung (Declaration of Love), was published in 2003 and was enthusiastically received by critics. In the same year he also published his book of poems Aller Ding (Of All Thing). In 2007 followed the novel Pazifik Exil (Pacific Exile), in which Lentz traces the exile experiences on the American West Coast of such writers and artists as Bertolt Brecht, Franz Werfel, Lion Feuchtwanger, Arnold Schönberg and Thomas and Heinrich Mann. In 2010 Offene Unruh. 100 Liebesgedichte (Open Unrest. 100 Love Poems) was published. Lentz's new novel "Schattenfroh: A Requiem" will be published by Fischer-Verlag in 2018.
As well as all this Michael Lentz has also found time to write radio plays and stage plays, football columns, reviews and essays. He is Professor for Literary Writing at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig and President of the Free Academy of the Arts in Leipzig, and since 2014 has also been a member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry in Darmstadt.
Lentz lives in Leipzig and Berlin.

Book publications (selection):
Zur Kenntnisnahme. Poetry and prose, 1985
Neue Anagramme. Poetry,1998
Oder. Prose,1998
Ende gut. Sprechakte (book with CD), 2001
Muttersterben. Prose, 2001 (also as audio book)
Liebeserklärung. Novel, 2003 (also as audio book)
Aller Ding. Poetry, 2003
Pazifik Exil. Novel, 2007
Offene Unruh. 100 Liebesgedichte, S. Fischer Verlag 2010
Schattenfroh. Ein Requiem (Roman), S. Fischer-Verlag 2018

Music (selection):
Sprechakte X/TREME, 2005 (CD)
Boxgesang, with Uli Winters, UA: Musica Viva 2008 (also as DVD)
fünfleute: Immer Krisensitzung, 2011 (CD)


Derek Beaulieu

Derek Beaulieu © privat

Derek Beaulieu, (b. 1973), is a Canadian poet and also editor of 20 books of poems, prose and criticism, including two volumes of his own selected work, Please, No More Poetry: the Poetry of derek beaulieu (2013) and (in German translation) Konzeptuelle Arbeiten (2017). In his work Beaulieu focuses on conceptual fiction, especially visual translations/rewritings. So his most recent book, a, A Novel (2017) is a take on Andy Warhol’s work of the same name from 1968.
Beaulieu exhibits his visual work in Canada, the United States and Europe. He has received several awards for his teaching and commitment to his students. From 2014‑2015 Beaulieu was Poet Laureate of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where he lives.

Publications (selection):
fractal economies, Vancouver: Talonbooks 2006
Please, No More Poetry: the Poetry of derek beaulieu, Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press 2013
Kern, Los Angeles, CA: Les Figues 2014
Ascender / Descender, Anchill Island: redfoxpress 2016
a, A Novel, Paris: Jean Boite Editions 2017


Georg Witte

Georg Witte © privat

Georg Witte (b. 1952 in Arnsberg) is Professor for General and Comparative Literature and Slavic Literatures at the Freie Universität Berlin.
He studied German and Slavic Studies in Munich, Cologne and Bochum. In 1984 and 1985 he was a research fellow at Moscow State University. He gained his doctorate in 1987 at the University of Bochum, where he was working as a research fellow. This was followed in 1992 by his ‘Habilitation’ qualification as a professor. He was then appointed in 1994 as Professor for East Slavic Literatures at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. In 2004 he was appointed to a chair at the Freie Universität. Since 2013 Georg Witte has been Managing Director of the Peter Szondi Institute.
His main areas of research include 20th Century Russian culture, the writing picturality of language, Eastern European avant-gardes, samisdat poetry (the dissemination through unofficial channels of alternative poetry not conforming to the system) and Moscow Conceptualism. Recently he has been working on the aesthetics of the material.

Publications (selection):
Appell – Spiel – Ritual. Textpraktiken in der russischen Literatur der sechziger bis achtziger Jahre, Wiesbaden 1989
Musen der Macht. Medien in der russischen Kultur der 1920er und 1930er Jahre, ed., Munich 2003
Kinetographien, co-ed., Bielefeld 2004
Die Sichtbarkeit der Schrift, ed., Munich 2006
Form und Wirkung. Phänomenologische und empirische Kunstwissenschaft in der Sowjetunion der 1920er Jahre, ed., Munich 2013

Hannes Bajohr

Hannes Bajohr © privat

Hannes Bajohr, (b. 1984 in Berlin) studied Philosophy, German Literature and Modern History at Berlin’s Humboldt University. He gained his PhD from Columbia University, New York, with a thesis on Hans Blumenberg’s Theory of Language. Bajohr writes prose, essays and digital poetry. His literary publications have mainly included experiments with digital poetry and conceptual writing. In 2015 his novel Durchschnitt (Mean) was published, for which, as the publisher’s announcement describes, the body of text of all the books in ‘The Canon. German Literature. Novels’, edited in twenty volumes by Marcel Reich-Ranicki for Insel Verlag in 2002, was used, their mean sentence length determined using Python, all sentences with different lengths discarded and the result then sorted alphabetically. Together with Gregor Weichbrodt he runs 0x0a, a text collective for digital conceptual literature. Since 2017 he has been a research fellow in the Centre for Literature and Culture Research, Berlin.

Publications (selection):
Durchschnitt. Novel, Frohmann: Berlin 2015
Code und Konzept. Literatur und das Digitale, Frohmann: Berlin 2016
Halbzeug. Textverarbeitung, Suhrkamp:Berlin 2018

Andreas Bülhoff

Andreas Bülhoff © Leon Kirchlechner

Andreas Bülhoff, writer and literary scholar, lives in Cologne. Most recently he published the artist books Pandoras Puzzle Box (EXC 2017) and die außenwelt der innenwelt der außenwelt (parasitenpresse 2016). Since 2018 he has published a weekly magazine at Until 2017 he was an editor with Der Greif (The Gryphon), a magazine for literature and photography. Since 2015 he has been an editor of the literary journal randnummer. Publications in magazines and anthologies, most recently in Code und Konzept. Literatur und das Digitale (Frohmann 2016), all dies hier, Majestät, ist deins. Lyrik im Anthropozän (kookbooks 2016) and Cloudpoesie. Dichtung für die vernetzte Gesellschaft (mikrotext 2016). Participation in performances and exhibitions. Currently working on a doctoral thesis on interface concepts of experimental poetry at the Schreibszene College for Contemporary Literary Research in Frankfurt.

Karl Holmqvist

Karl Holmqvist © privat

Karl Holmqvist (b. 1964 in Västerås, Sweden) studied Literature and Linguistics at the University of Stockholm. After many years in New York Holmqvist now lives and works in Berlin. Language, in the sense of sign, symbol, graphics and sound, is the main material of his artistic work. His inventive re-renderings of words and phrases take on various forms, including artist books, posters, room-filling installations, murals, sculptures, videos and live performances. In his writing he cites various sources from general proverbs to literary references, from popular music to political activism. The re-postioning of his sampled fragments into new contexts allows multiple meanings to emerge, which have to do with repetition and memory. In the tradition of the Beat Generation Holmqvist transforms spoken syllables, words and sentence fragments into dadaistic lecture performances replete with quotations.

Solo exhibitions (selection):
Kunsthall, Bergen 2011
Moderna Museet, Stockholm 2013
Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York 2015
Werk, Kunstverein Braunschweig (with Klara Liden) 2016
Tuff Love, Power Station, Dallas, Texas 2016
Read Dear, Camden Arts Centre, London 2016
From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word, Centre d'Art Contemporaine, Genf 2017
Lavoro, Indipendenza, Rome (with Klara Liden) 2017

Facehug. Photographic Collage and Concrete Poem, Facehug: Berlin 2007
Contents. Artist's Xerox book, Living Art Museum: Reykjavik 2008
What’s My Name, Book Works, London 2009
Karl Holmqvist Readings, CD, Neu Records, Berlin 2010
Peep – Hole Sheet, Issue 8, Mailand 2011
Skyline is the By-Linezz, Motto Books: Berlin 2014
300574R540N3574R, onestar press: Paris 2016
Word Squares, Compagnia/Motto Books: Berlin 2017