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CZECH CONCRETE POETRY CROSSCHECKED

CZECH CONCRETE POETRY CROSSCHECKED

*From the recent collection LITERATURA IN PRESTOR, eds. Katarina Rakušček & Julija Ovsec (Ljubljana: 2016), by David Vichnar

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Just as so many other literary-historical labels, concrete poetry, it seems, is what we make of it, what we include and exclude, where and what against we draw the line. This provisional and necessarily pragmatic character of the activity need not be regarded its weak spot, indeed rather to the contrary, at least according to Mary Ellen Solt and Emmett Williams, editors of two seminal anthologies of the early post-WWII concrete poetry. This indefinability is what concrete poetry has thrived on, what contributed to its mass followership and longevity. Yet at the same time, this multiplicity has also given license to blanket dismissals that target particular tendencies or subgroup idiosyncrasies as emblematic of the entire concretist poetics and sensibility.

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  • EQUUS PRESS was established in 2011 between Paris, London & Prague with the objective of publishing new writing that is innovative & conscious of being doubly marginalised: outside the literary establishment defined by the Anglo-American publishing industry, & outside the confines of nationalism, pursuing a broadly cosmopolitan “agenda.” // EQUUS believes that such a doubly marginalised position allows for a writing both idiosyncratic & authoritative in its distance from which it can take a stand, make a change, & matter; an ability increasingly rare in titles conforming to the dictates of the book market & tastes of mass readership. // EQUUS considers its mission to offer the possibility of publication to writers & writing that matters, focusing mainly, though not exclusively, on Anglophone writing written outside of its native emplacement.
"Modernity today is not in the hands of the poets, but in the hands of the cops" // Louis Aragon
"It is the business of the future to be dangerous" // A.N. Whitehead

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“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?…we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us” // Franz Kafka, letter to Oskar Pollack, 27 January 1904
September 2016
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