Documents of Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-79
Part Two

The editorial journey continues around the production of the volume Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-79 (Primary Information, 2020), focusing on women in the field of concrete poetry in the 1960s and 1970s. The two editors of the publication, Alex Balgiu and Mónica de la Torre, share the background leading to the creation of this volume, which also includes work by Patrizia Vicinelli, the poet from Bologna featured in the exhibition Chi ha paura di Patrizia Vicinelli.

We start with this Arti visive Poesia visiva folder, which unfolds to an amazing set of cards printed on extra glossy coated paper. This document is one of the very important early encounters as we were embarking on the editorial journey of Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-79. It’s a catalogue of one of the early concrete poetry exhibitions curated by Mirella Bentivoglio published by Studio d’arte contemporanea Artivisive, Rome, in 1974.

It is very interesting both as an editorial object—a catalogue as a series of exquisite poetry cards, one can shuffle it, read it in a constellation, pass it on—and as a curatorial approach, through its focus on highlighting and promoting avant-garde poetry by women, making their work visible through investigating and identifying their inherent qualities and characteristics.

We were amazed to see the broad spectrum of poets included, both in terms of provenance and writing approach. A document of remarkable richness and diversity drawing an outstanding map of concrete poetry by women in the mid 1970s.

Annalisa Alloatti, Mirella Bentivoglio, Irma Blank, Paula Claire, Lia Drei, Ulrike Eberle, Anna Esposito, Amelia Etlinger, Gisela Frankenberg, Ilse Garnier, Bohumila Grögerová, Ana Hatherly, Annalies Klophaus, Liliana Landi, Giulia Niccolai, Anna Oberto, Anesia Pacheco e Chaves, Marguerite Pinney, Betty Radin, Giovanna Sandri, Mira Schendel, Mary Ellen Solt, Chima Sunada, Salette Tavares, Biljana Tomic, Patrizia Vicinelli.

Each card inside the folder represents the work of one poet: one poem reproduced on the front side, and on the back either some biographical information, a poetical statement or a quote.  

Anna Oberto’s contribution is quite unique as it consists of an excerpt of her introductory text to the exhibition Operatrici Visuali at Centro Tool Milano (January, 1972), accompanied by a reproduction of her artwork Anautopia per la città ideale. Combining theory and poetical practice in an open and enlightening way, this piece speaks in a eloquent feminist voice for the entire folder.