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Volume 02, Number 2 (1977)

Visual Poetry in Canada: Birney, Bissett, and bp

  • Jack David
May 22, 2008


Visual poetry, deriving from such sources as the Greek Anthology, and Renaissance poets such as George Herbert and Robert Herrick, is further developed in the first half of the twentieth century by writers such as Stephan Mallarme and e. e. cummings. Earle Birney, Bill Bissett, and bpNichol can be identified as the nurturers and propagators of a Canadian tradition of concrete poetry. Deceptively simple, the meanings of these poems are developed through typography, shape and word-play. Their hidden complexity reveals an innovative yet historically rooted art form which has grown vigorously and thus deserves further consideration.