Heritage Moment

A fake pamphlet. A sort of doodle and mind map of a research project on Gertrude Stein.

I recently read Gertrude Stein’s book, Tender Buttons, and have been learning about the importance of Stein to later writers who “foreground the materiality of the signifier”–concrete and visual poets like (Augusto and Haroldo de Campos, bpNichol, Emmett Williams, Ian Hamilton Finlay) Language poets (Charles Bernstein, Robert Grenier, and Lisa “I’m not a Language poet” Robertson)  conceptual poets (Kenneth Goldsmith) and academics of the above (Marjorie Perloff, Peter Quartermain).

These writers often invoke Stein, as signifier, as historical context, as proto-feminist, as antecedent of difficult, disjunctive, poetry whose “content” is consubstantial with its form.

It would be facile to say it is ironic that avant-garde writing would be so eager to grasp for a tradition. This history of writing is not, as Alessandra Capperdoni writes, “a narrative of progress . . . each stage struggling to subvert the old in Oedipal fashion”.

It is a composite of a portrait of Gerty I found in one of Emmett William’s books on Fluxus, a concrete poem from the anthology “Writing in the Expanded Field”, Lubeck’s Dance of Death, the rings worn by Pope Julius the II in Raphael’s portrait, and a term used bpNichol: “St. Ein.

Your assignment, dear reader, is to select or create a visual organizer for your own real or imagined research project.


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