The Extraordinary World of MARBL: Three Dimensional Poetry

52weeks_logo4.jpgThe Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library is a place of discovery. All are welcome to visit and explore our unique holdings, whether as a researcher or an observer. The breadth and depth of our collections are vast, and it is nearly impossible to investigate every nook and cranny. We invite you this year, through our blog, to tour some of those places you didn’t know existed, and get acquainted with collections you might not have previously explored. Check back in with us weekly over the course of 2013 as we offer you a delightful look into some of the favorite, but perhaps lesser-known, corners of our collections. These pieces are visually interesting, come attached with fascinating stories, and are often 3D objects you might not have realized are part of what makes up The Extraordinary World of MARBL.



Ian Hamilton Finlay, "Untitled", Wooden Panel Poem

Ian Hamilton Finlay, “Untitled”, Wooden Panel Poem

You might think that the text of a poem can only exist in two dimensions being printed or written on a two dimensional surface like paper. However, there is three dimensional poetry and we have a couple of examples as today’s MARBL curiosity. Existing on the edges of both literature and art, visual and concrete poetry utilize images as well as text to convey the meaning of the poem. The two items of 3D visual poetry depicted arrived at MARBL as part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library. The wooden panel was identified as being by the Scottish poet and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006)  Finlay’s oeuvre is far too diverse to be covered here with his work extending from poetry through sculpture to garden design.

Stuart Mills, " An Alphabet from Holland"

Stuart Mills, ” An Alphabet from Holland”

The second piece was more problematic as it was completely unlabeled so its creator was unknown. For a number of years it was unidentified until the cataloging of a work by a lesser known English poet Stuart Mills (1940-2006) titled An Alphabet from Holland. The postcard was a printed representation of the sculpture with the large letter X signifying a Dutch windmill. The card was published in 1969 by Tarasque Press, a small press run by Mills and the poet Simon Cutts. Cutts is still writing and publishing poetry with his press, Coracle. An email to Cutts with a picture of the sculpture confirmed the work was by Mills and was constructed in Nottingham, England in the late 1960s. It’s appropriate that these 2 poetic sculptures appear together as the two poets had a “particular rapport” with Mills publishing a number of works by Finlay and organizing his first one man show.

MARBL’s Raymond Danowski Poetry Library houses extensive collections of works by and published by Finlay, Mills and Cutts.

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