Links to ARCHI-POEMS by Ted Landrum

The best introduction to my work is this video of my reading at Thin Air, Winnipeg International Writers Festival, Sept. 24th 2017. I read three poems from Midway Radicals & Archi-Poems: "Snippets of Kairos for Enkidu Haircut", "Writing an Aid to Me" and "Agog" 
 

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On November 2, 2018, I read in Toronto along with Komi Olaf and Ingrid Ruthig, 2 new genre-jumping "archi-poetry" friends, at an event called Poetry & Architecture in Conversation, where we each read a few poems then discussed the architecture of poetry and the poetry of architecture, and more generally our motives and methods for mingling diverse arts. Elsa Lam, editor of Canadian Architect magazine generously joined us for Q&A. We launched several books at the event, including Ingrid Ruthig's award winning This Being, my own Midway Radicals and a new limited edition chapbook we made to celebrate the event, called Room to Room: Poetry & Architecture in Conversation, gathering sample archi-poems from each of us, together with individual statements on the rapport between poetry and architecture. At this event, I was happy to finally read "Human Universe" and specific "beams" from "Ark Fundations, Roving Renovations" that I'd not yet had the opportunity to share. Here is a 12 minute video of my portion of Poetry & Architecture in Conversation at Knife | Fork | Book, Nov 2, 2018:


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"Things Can and Not be Said" is read over megaphone as four experimental-musicians 'sound' the place called Graffiti Gallery at "Intervals: Variations on Lines" (July 6, 2018). This archi-poem was made by sampling text from an interview with whistle-blowers Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg, and the architect turned author-activist Arundhati Roy. Musicians co-playing the place include Greg Hanec, Dustin Wiebe, and Gage and Kerrigan Salnikowski. For best results, turn on the CC subtitles and listen close to"Things Can and Not be Said":


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"Ephemeral Monuments" are four (post-Trump) poems made in a recent workshop led by Steven Ross Smith, at the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture.  Follow the link to a recording.
In a revised form, this series was performed as one segment of a collaborative performance event called "Nada Nawa Sanga: Space Place Sound" held at the Faculty of Architecture's C.A.S.T. building, Univ. of Manitoba, April 28, 2018. A partial recording of that event can be found here

"Systematic Encounter in Plural Parts" is a series of 7 interrelated poems written in response to an exhibition of paintings called "Re-Configuring Abstraction."  Follow the above link to see 6 of the poems and listen to a recording of all 7 poems with an explanation of the process.  In Canadian Poetries, an account of the workshop which led to these "ekphrastic" poems mentions my contribution.

"University of Labyrinth" is a long collage poem written in response to an exhibition of collage works, called "What are You Scared Of?"  The graphic poem "Art History (with Hiccups)" was written also partly in response to the exhibition, but also, more generally, in thinking about the origins of art and poetry.  Follow the above link to see these 2 poems; and listen (here) to a recording including a 3rd related poem, called "What Are You Afraid Of," along with an explanation of the ekphrastic process.

"Tunnelling Through"  was published in On Site review (issue #29, on Geology); and was recorded at the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture as part of Winnipeg's Thin Air Literary Festival.  This is a "list poem" musing on the roots of "cunning" - as a poetic, philosophical, and architectural act.  Like many of my archi-poems, this one developed out of specific conversations with my awesome partner, Lisa, whose ground breaking research on 'architectural acts' is revolutionizing architectural history and theory.

"Inauguries" and "Tongue-Twister for Midway Radicals" were recorded at the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture in 2011.  (One can skip my long preamble and go straight to the poems by dragging the slider to the 2:20 mark.) "Inauguries" was published along with two other "archi-poems" as part of an afterword, called 'Utter Qualia: Three Probe/Poems," for a book on architectural Quality, called Quality Out of Control: Standards for Measuring Architecture (Routledge 2010) p198-202.

"Language and Architecture: a Duologue" (one of my "archi-poems" from the book on architectural Quality) has been republished in the June 2014 issue of EDGE Condition (vol. 2), on "Presenting Architecture." For this issue, the editors asked five diverse artists to respond creatively to my poem.  The poem is an "abcedary" gathering a list of performative acts shared by architecture and language. Again, this poem developed along side my partners research on architectural acts, one aim of which is to recover lost meanings in the word, the act, and the phenomenon of architecture. The entire issue of EDGE Condition is a free download, and my poem "Language and Architecture" appears on page 24 (p14 of PDF), with artist responses appearing on the following pages.  It is a great honor to have the poem not only read, but interpreted creatively.  I am very grateful to the editors for proposing the idea and to the artists, none of whom I knew, for their creative work!

Two experimental archi-poems poems have been published in/on Lemon Hound (an influential Can-Lit web-zine) as part of a New Winnipeg Poets Folio Short-Cut through a City Cemetery is a double homage: to the founder of the Lemon Hound web-zine, Sina Queyras; and to the tradition of collage-poetry. Lit by Glass, is a vertical slice "taken" through a poem by Charles Simic, called Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk. That poem (and book of poems) is among the first-formative influences that led me to pursue archi-poetry, when I discovered it many years ago while browsing in the library as an architecture student (ca1989). These poems-made-from-poems are perhaps controversial, since I have merely edited, shortened and intensified, existing poems that were already quite powerful. I see them less as appropriations than as collaborative works, operating like literature as a whole through the layering of voices and responses. Also, in architecture it is quite common to renovate an existing building, especially if it is a good one worthy of keeping—and most of them are. Furthermore, one excellent way to study a work of architecture, is to cut it open, by taking and exposing what we call a representative cross-section. By slicing down the middle of a building, or a poem, what we get is both an abstraction of the original, and a sample that reveals the interstitial, inhabitable and structuring elements in a new and legible way. I describe this selective, subtractive process as midway between reading and writing, finding and making. In the case of found/erasure poetry, the result is always a new poem, but in my work, I try also to have the outcome be a discursive response to the source. My poem "Lit by Glass" is both similar to and different from Simic's poem "Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk." Obviously, 'Lit' and 'Glass' take on multiple, and I hope, magnifying meaning. Since I learn about poetry from this process, these works are intentionally made as auto-didactic poems. But this is not all, since through making them I am able to develop a voice that is not simply my own: ideally finding a more plural and universal voice, they say more than I alone ever could; at minimum, they give way to a hybrid or middle voice. The voice of a plural other which is neither mine alone, nor that of the source authors alone, it resembles that voice which arises when any reader reads the writing of another; an inter-subjectively layered, and possibly dissonant voice.  If you read the poem aloud, it becomes as much your poem as my poem.

"Arch of Enjoyment" (for and against Henri Lefebvre) is one of a growing collection of longish (found/erasure) archi-poems taking prose essays for their source, beginning, or archê. This one is based on an essay called "Architecture" in Henri Lefebvre's posthumous book Architecture of Enjoyment. This poem has been published both online and in print by the American Society for Aesthetics. I was asked by the editors to provide an accompanying explanation of my archi-poetry process, but readers can skip over this and go straight to the poem. I have several found-erasure poems that, like this one, convert a prose source into a poem. In each case the new poem is meant to explore more openly, intensely, and often more ambiguously (and complexly) the same or similar topics raised in the source essay. The basic premise motivating this project is that poetry is able to say much more than prose, especially on certain questions that cannot be answered easily, and on topics and themes that are fundamentally immeasurable. That poetry can be more probative, impactful, moving, and illuminating than prose, is of course not necessarily true in every case, but I find the hypothesis productive. Like my Ubu Loca archive, which relies on prose sources, the ongoing archi-poetry project is a mode of researchthe findings of which are for the reader to discover.

My latest archi-poem “A Hunt forOptimism, in the Middle—or Thereabouts (for and against Viktor Shklovsky)” is published in the culminating issue of On Site Review #34: On Writing (Spring 2016), along with an equally compact accompanying essay, called "On Reading A Hunt for Optimism." 
 
I wish to thank Stephanie White, the editor of On Site review, for publishing three of my experimental archi-poems in recent issues, and for the many enjoyable conversations we have had over the last several years as she attempted to keep this excellent interdisciplinary magazine not only alive, but meaningful and provocative. Her knowledge, wit and expertise will be missed.


Two related archi-poems have appeared in the journal CV2 [Contemporary Verse 2: The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing]: "Thank You Gertrude" in v37, n2 (Fall 2014) p54-56; and "Thank You Gertrude, Again" in v38, n3 (Winter 2016) p33-35. Thanks also to the editors for including me in one of Canada's longest running journals dedicated to poetry.

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