01 Dez Words Form Language
On Concrete Poetry, Typography and the work of Eugen Gomringer
Have you ever heard of Concrete Poetry – a poetic movement that emerged in the early 1950s and sought to create a universal form of poetry that could be described as a mixture of poetry, art and graphic design? The basic principle of the movement is the idea that words are material. The Concrete Poets used words not primarily for their semantic qualities, but as constitutive elements. Through the relationship between the written text and its spatial arrangement on the page, they gave their poems another level of meaning. Their works led to a new kind of verse that abandoned the linear structure of poetry and resulted in a new form of poetry that could be read and looked at.
Bolivian-born Swiss poet, writer and publisher Eugen Gomringer is often described as the father of concrete poetry. From 1953 onwards, together with Dieter Roth and Marcel Wyss, Gomringer co-published the artist’s magazine spirale, that formed the starting point for his form of poetry. From an early stage, Gomringer wanted to blur the boundaries of poetry and the language of advertising. This publication combines original images and selected works from Gomringer’s long-standing collaborations as art director and copy-writer for various companies. It also contains the theoretical essay “vom vers zur konstellation” (from verse to constellation), Gomringer’s original manifesto published in 1954.