"Meant to be seen more than read, this visual tour-de-force is emotionally engaging, intellectually stimulating, and just plain fun to flip through. Influenced by Mallarmé, Guillaume Apollinaire's calligrammes and Pierre Reverdy's early poems, Sohn explores the page as space and the "image" the poem can leave in that space. His interest is in the abstract or conceptual use of the page as well as the relation between text and image, especially how it plays out in artist's books. Contemporary parallels to his work can be found in Roger Giroux, Anne-Marie Albiach, André du Bouchet and the painter Pierre Tal Coat."
—Thoreau Lovell, Wet Cement Press
“Lettersforms, the physical manifestation of our language, become the means of expression in this attractive book. Inspired by visual artists whose practice spans a range of art from the large color series of French painter Anne Slacik to the cool formalism of the designer and architect Carlo Scarpa and the humorous sculpture of Ken Price, Michael Sohn enlaces new meaning into language by interweaving letters with careful attention to their structure. Serifs, thicks and thins of strokes, ascenders and descenders, and the negative spaces of counters repeat in patterns obscuring words’ expected sounds and meanings and highlighting the visual potential of language. Sohn’s project moves past the manipulations of concrete poetry and into the landscape of formal beauty and the plastic arts.”
—Jaime Robles, author of Hoard (Shearsman Books) and editor / designer of Cobalt Blue: Writings from the Papers of Sam Francis.
Michael Sohn grew up in the Massachusetts town that spawned “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. He has lived in Chicago, a whole lifetime in New York City, and presently lives in Marseille with his wife. For too many years he taught Freshman Composition in NYC while working on his own poems, reading and writing about contemporary French poetry, and thinking about the relationship between text and image, the visual arts and poetry. He has published articles on French poets Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) and André du Bouchet (1924-2001). He is currently writing, in French, a book of experimental and “shaped” prose, Contre [Against], about the French painter Pierre Tal Coat (1905-85), du Bouchet and the problem of writing painting.
Still Forms—Visible Poetry
116 pages, 6.5" x 6.5", Color, Perfect Bound
Publication Date: 9/7/20