visual/concrete roundtable discussion @ Selectors' Records, Vancouver [26 October]

visual/concrete roundtable discussion


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Selectors' Records
8 East Pender Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6A 1T1
Participants: Derek Beaulieu, Judith Copithorne, Jamie Hilder, Shyla Seller; moderator: Clint Burnham

Over the past year, Shyla Sellar, an archivist for Special Collections at SFU, has been organizing the Derek Beaulieu fonds: this collection includes publications and material associated with two presses run by Beaulieu (housepress: 1997-2004, and No Press: 2004-present), his considerable output as a concrete/visual poet, and sundry other material. The archival matter is over 5 m in space. Beaulieu (b. 1973, lives in Calgary) is one of Canada’s most important poet-publishers of his generation, and this work is an important addition to Special Collections, which plans to exhibit Beaulieu’s work in the fall of 2017.

A panel with senior poet Judith Copithorne (b. 1939), critic Jamie Hilder (b. 1977), and archivist Seller will provide an important occasion for assessing the status of concrete and visual poetry today.

In particular, Copithorne’s status as a practitioner of concrete/visual writing since the 1950s provides a historical, but also gendered, context, one that stretches from mimeograph to Flickr, from 1960s “expanded fields of writing” (as Michael Turner termed the context for Copithorne’s work in a 2010 exhibition at the SFU Gallery) to neoliberal historicism today.

Similarly, Hilder’s work – especially his 2016 book Designed Words for a Designed World – situates concrete/visual poetry in a global context, arguing that the international concrete poetry movement, like architecture, cybernetics, and conceptual art, both anticipated and was symptomatic of what we now call globalization.

Finally, Seller’s archival approach and experience will bring out the materiality of Beaulieu’s production, pointing to the paradoxical canonization (or at least institutionalization) of such ephemeral, but also exquisite, chapbooks, broadsides, and books. Combined with Beaulieu’s deeply artisanal practice, the perspectives of Copithorne, Hilder, and Seller, will ensure a lively debate, one that will contribute to Vancouver’s heady literary-artistic scenes.

Taking place in the DTES/Chinatown location of Selectors’ Records/Publication Studios, this will be the event of the fall and one you will not want to miss.

Moderated by Clint Burnham and sponsored by the SFU Department of English, taking place on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, and Stó:lō First Nations.
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