Body of Text is a collection of concrete poems made by marrying poetry with body-based performance art and documentary photography. Dressed in a full black body-suit, Michael V. Smith is photographed by David Ellingsen in hundreds of poses which resemble Greco-Roman letters, Asian characters, hieroglyphs, or Rorschach inkblots. These are then arranged in book form, to a maximum of three images per page. In the same spirit of moving beyond language as heard in the sound poetry of Christian Bök, the poems in Body of Text occupy a liminal space between poetry and visual art. The body is made word, is made site, object and subject. The body is symbol.
I’m not lingering over a turn of phrase here, but the fact of the book, the flipping through it, the returning to it, the showing it around, and finally, the wrapping my head around it, enjoying the pleasure of it, the tease of it, the let’s-see-if-we-can-get-away-with-this of it, makes me think about the queerness of concrete poetry. – Matrix Magazine
Michael V. Smith is a Vancouver writer, comedian, filmmaker, zinester, performance artist and occasional clown. Recently, Smith won Vancouvers Community Hero of the Year Award and the inaugural Dayne Ogilvie Award for Emerging Gay Writers. Hes also won a Western Magazine Award for Fiction, scooped both short film categories at Toronto’s Inside Out festival, and was nominated for the Journey Prize. Smith is the author of the novel Cumberland, and a collection of poems titled What You Cant Have.
David Ellingsen is a Vancouver photographer whose landscapes have been seen in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada and the US, as well as on film and television productions such as The L Word and 4400. Alongside his fine art work, David is running a successful commercial photography business with clients such as The New York Times Magazine and CBC Radio Canada.
168 pages; 8x4 inches (oblong); paperback
ISBN 1 897388 28 4 | 978 1 897388 28 0
Poetry; Photography; Performance Art; Concrete Poetry