[As I enter my eighty-third year the work that still lies ahead begins to focus on the possibility of a new poetry & poetics of the Americas. The idea, like most ideas (good & bad) is by no means new but it stirs up, again, a sense of unkept promises & of a discontent with the idea of America as the domain of the United States alone, the way we speak of it again & again in our works & in our daily lives.
Robert Sheppard contributed this piece to Jacketissue 9 to mark the occasion of Bob Cobbing's 75th birthday:
I visited Bob Cobbing, and thus met my first poet, on November 3 1973. I was still at school, keen to put on an exhibition of concrete poetry. I recognised this as the wilder edge of the new British poetry I had discovered through Horovitz' anthology Children of Albion and Bill Butler's Brighton bookshop. In the school library there was, unaccountably, Emmett Williams' An Anthology of Concrete Poetry. Bob was in it.
When I arrived at Randolph Avenue to collect some hansjörg mayer posters, Bob was already talking to a student who was writing a thesis on language in visual art. I listened as they talked and sounded some of the Shakespeare Kaku. I remained mute, uncertain. Bob played a tape of himself and Peter Finch performing e colony from the Five Vowels, a then incomplete project. He showed us the work in progress. I stayed for six hours literally learning the life of a poet.
As the patterns are emerging from the small battered lawn—the patterns which are for her continuously seeping in from those in the long-ago linoleums . . . they begin to form before her eyes the patterns of a parquet floor . . . the patterns, even, of a kind of design she has seen somewhere before . . . watching, waiting, with ever increasing urgency, an urgency she feels violently and vividly coursing through her tautening veins . . . as the memory begins to clear . . . revealing to her both the floors and the ceiling of a Cinema she had frequented as a child . . . in some outlaying area of the small battered city . . . an area which she associates more with dream than memory . . .
Last weekend (October 25 & 26) was the occasion of the fifth annual Creative Time Summit in New York City. Creative Time is an organization known for producing public art projects, but recently it has become an important producer of conversations about the intersections of art and social justice. This year’s Summit was titled, “Art, Place & Dislocation in the 21st Century City.” Speakers included Rebecca Solnit, Lucy Lippard, John Fetterman (mayor of Braddock, PA), Rick Lowe (of Project Row Houses), Lucy Orta, Laurie Jo Reyolds, and many others.