Mail art by Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)
The mail art network already has a place in literary history because, for decades, it has been a primary conduit for esoteric poetic forms, many of which are gaining an increasing amount of attention and acceptance. These include visual poetry, concrete poetry, haptic poetry, object poetry, asemics, erasures, cut-ups and others. (Michael Jacobson’s asemic writing group on Facebook, for example, has more than 10,000 members.)
As one of the network’s most esteemed veterans, Richard Canard has explored many of these forms. This is not the first time I have shared this observation. But this documentation of three pieces received from Richard helps confirm my position that Richard Canard is on equal footing with the most “serious” visual poets practicing today. In other words, I encourage a closer look at his text-centered work.
I like this first piece (above) very much as a convergence of text and image. I have spent a good amount of time with it because I think there is a readable message there, only I must report I am at a loss to identify what it is. Perhaps I do not see the forest for the trees. Maybe someone else can see it clearly. A scanning error revealed that the individual “glyphs” can stand alone as more minimalist compositions:
Here is the reverse side of the postcard-size piece:
Here is another piece I received from Richard Canard that I view as vispo:
Richard Canard’s erasures are not exactly vispo. They do give you a sense of his poetic range, and I have a great example that has not been previously documented.
And the reverse side to reveal more about process:
And the erasure’s envelope:
As ever, thanks to Richard Canard!