(Conversation, Presentation)

Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959–79

Mónica de la Torre, Alex Balgiu

01/03/2024, 18:30

Ezio Gribaudo’s exhibition The Weight of the Concrete culminates with a series of events exploring the nexus of concrete poetry, publishing, graphic design, typography, feminism, and performance, inspired by Gribaudo and Adriano Spatola’s pioneering publication Il Peso del Concreto (1968). The series marks the end of an exhibition and sets the stage for a forthcoming publication published by Axis Axis and Grazer Kunstverein and edited by Tom Engels and Lilou Vidal, revisiting Gribaudo’s legacy and intertwining his graphic work with new and historical experimental poetry, slated for summer 2024 release.

In their upcoming talk, Mónica de la Torre and Alex Balgiu will present their 2020 publication, Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979, an influential anthology that assembles concrete poems by women from the early stages of this avant-garde movement. This comprehensive collection highlights the contributions of 50 writers and artists from Europe, Japan, Latin America, and the United States, demonstrating how they challenged traditional conventions of genre, gender roles, and the patriarchal constraints on language and syntax. De la Torre and Balgiu will delve into the process behind compiling this anthology and share their personal reflections on the making of this publication, drawing from their experiences as poet, designer, and bibliophile, illuminating the collective endeavor to redefine poetry’s boundaries.

MÓNICA DE LA TORRE is the author of six books of poetry, of which the most recent, Repetition Nineteen (Nightboat), centers on experimental translation. Other collections include The Happy End/All Welcome (Ugly Duckling Presse)—a riff on a riff on Kafka’s Amerika—and Public Domain. Several of her books have been published in Mexico, among them Acúfenos and Taller de Taquimecanografía, written jointly with the eponymous women artists’ collective she co-founded. Recent art writing focuses on Cecilia Vicuña’s Palabrarmas series, Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s Photostats, and Ulises Carrión’s bookworks. She coedited Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959–79 (Primary Information) with Alex Balgiu. She is the recipient of the 2022 Foundation for Contemporary Arts C.D. Wright Award for Poetry and a 2022 Creative Capital grant and teaches poetry at Brooklyn College.

ALEX BALGIU is an educator, designerwriter and bookgatherer about the age of a Heidelberg GTO 52 press. Concerned with designing spaces for collective creativity and experimenting with various modes of transmission, you can catch him reading, playing and disseminating in Lausanne (Écal), Paris (Doc & Pca), Kyoto (Villa Kujoyama) or the bookshop next door. Or you can pick up Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-79, a collection of outstanding concrete poems by women edited together with Mónica de la Torre (NY: Primary Information, 2020). Do you love books too much? Then join Bibliomania, an ongoing series of editorial puppet shows created with Olivier Lebrun, touring around the world. Currently learning from the forest and the river.



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