from Issue #3: Poetry by Richard Tipping

Here’s a gallery of visual poems by Richard Tipping, published in Issue #3 (2013): Swofehuper, Division of the Sexes and Omen. Scroll down to read Richard’s note about their making and their meaning… 

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Author’s note

These three word works have grown from my interests in visual concrete poetry since the late 60s, when I first encountered poems such Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Acrobats, and Alan Riddell’s Revolver among many others, and was alerted to the possibilities of making poems which did not depend upon the ear, which aggressively utilised the page as a visual performance space, and which explored the special characteristics of written language.

Swofehuper doesn’t need explanation in content, while teasing out innate structures which amplify meaning: its self-sufficiency arises from the opening zip which separates the sexual halves, ironically positioned in a not-mutual dependency.

Division of the Sexes takes the single word sex, and applies a mirror inserted into the middle of the X. The resulting eight vertical sexes can be made by mirror planes placed horizontally and vertically, each one building another, like a gene replicating, in embodied symmetry.

Omen locks the letters of women and men into a grid, counterpointing them dynamically, using a particular font and spacing to emphasise the physicality of this constructed fascination which speaks of our bonded oneness amidst or alongside our otherness as both genders and cultures.

There are four ways each of reading women and men across the grid. The diagonal bar of Ms divides and unites the WOs and the ENs. The opposite diagonal gives WMN, which might be a ‘texted’ short-form of women. Together the ingredients of Omen create a sense of shared inheritance, the inherent made together.

To be continued …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Richard Tipping - private poetry

Richard (Kelly) Tipping lives in Sydney working with visual poetry, subvertising graphics and public sculpture. His folio of fifty letterpress and screen prints The Sydney Morning was exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, in 2009. His word art is substantially represented in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, which lists and illustrates more than one hundred works through www.artsearch.nga.gov.au Born in Adelaide, Tipping studied at Flinders University, and after travelling in the Americas co-founded the ongoing Friendly Street poetry readings in 1975. From 1984 to 1986 he lived in Europe, where he made documentary films on expatriate writers. He completed a masters degree and a doctorate at the University of Technology, Sydney, and lectured in media arts at the University of Newcastle. UQP has published three collections of his poetry: Soft Riots (1972), Domestic Hardcore (1975) and Nearer by Far (1986); Picaro Press published Notes Towards Employment (2006). A fat book of visual and verbal poems is nearing completion. He is represented by Australian Galleries.

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from Issue #4: Poetry by Richard Tipping

Image (CC) Tim J Keegan @ Flickr

Image (CC) Tim J Keegan @ Flickr

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Casting patterns

Their shadows are stacked by number
in long tin sheds at the far-
flung end of a bitter yard.

It’s the end of the industrial age
maybe. Or the smoke’s just gone elsewhere.

You know where you can put your words
tight as cooling steel
when the factory’s closing.

To be a BHP worker, that was something
you had to work for, and keep on working for
to get your keep – there was some
considerable pride.

Remember that old sign, Broken  ill?
The H was missing like Joey’s front tooth that time
he ran into his girlfriend’s ex
who wasn’t,

or that bloke with his boots strapped on
to thick wood flats to stop his feet
from melting, went up anyway

in a tower of stink
dropping little fangs of grit
over all the washinglines of Carrington.

That kind of stuff happened heaps
but you wouldn’t hear about it
except down the pub.

Those wood patterns you were talking about
got dumped at Kooragang,
a mountain of kauri, cedar and white pine –
fifty years of carpentry all trashed
by graders, buried or burned.

The history’s gone, mate. Forget it.
Newcastle’ll be better off without the bloody place.

 

 

The Museum Of Fire

Past the shooting range and dirt
car rally track, the dump.
Names end here, in the museum of fire.
Seagulls whirl up like ripped scraps of cloud.

Torn off bits of everything – wet books,
smashed bricks, frazzled plants
in cracked plastic pots.

They serve, who only stand and wait
shooing flies and pondering
the tough-arsed 4-wheel drives
backing loads of exhausted possessions in
where no charity can intervene,
no questions asked.

The men with rights to scavenge
make useless hand signals
then pounce, pulling out lengths of
old house wiring, any brass or lead,
ignore tossed oddities, half-dead TVs,

a cabinet of ballet shoes
tipped to the burning line –
music boxes split, little ballerinas
pirouette heart-leaping twists
into shattering mirrors
smudged with ooze, crushed in
to worn-out boots,
a no wheel
barrow
crazed with cement
dust, cradling bricks
on a green pool table.

In graveyards of the mundane
glisten splinters of memory. Years
coil into stink, and rot and creeping fire,
this glorious, over-burdened century
bulldozed into fill.

 

 

Close to the End

It must be close to the end
of Star Wars season again –
eight people in the cinema

buzzing light sabre sword fights
more twisted script relief &
aeons of future hassle.

Outside, the biggest
aircraft carrier in the world
slides into Sydney.

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ABOUT THE POET

Richard Kelly Tipping lives in Sydney working with visual poetry, photography and public sculpture. His word art is substantially represented in collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, which lists and illustrates more than one hundred works through www.artsearch.nga.gov.au Born in Adelaide, Tipping studied at Flinders University, and after travelling in the Americas co-founded the ongoing Friendly Street poetry readings in 1975. He lived in Europe and England from 1984-86, producing and directing documentary films on writers including Peter Porter, David Malouf and Randolph Stowe. He completed a masters degree and a doctorate at the University of Technology, Sydney, and lectured in media arts at the University of Newcastle until 2010. UQP published three collections of his poetry: Soft Riots (1972), Domestic Hardcore (1975) and Nearer by Far (1986); and Picaro Press Notes Towards Employment (2006). In 2007 he edited a special issue of Artlink magazine on The Word as Art. A fat book of visual and verbal poems is nearing completion, to be published by Puncher & Wattman. He is represented by Australian Galleries.

from Issue #3: Poetry by Richard Tipping (I)

Photo (CC) Chris Brown @ Flickr

Photo (CC) Chris Brown @ Flickr

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In-Flight Service

Is this thing turned on?

Good evening. This is your Captain speaking.
We are now fanging along somewhere
high over the countryside.
Don’t worry which country.
Think in terms of “government policy of the 2020s”
and it doesn’t matter, left or right,
we need both wings to fly, right?
There’s no real cause for alarm or panic,
yet. This superb machinery means you no harm.
The maelstrom ahead is
just coffee stains on the radar screen and is
being wiped up as I speak.
Our landing gear is safely down
and the fuel blockage
may yet fix itself
on that tilting wing, through all of this
astonishing night, alive with stars.
The plane’s course is set on autopilot
so there’s no need for human error.
Your crew has decided to parachute to safety
this time around, and dinner will soon be served
on a self-serve basis.
Just switch on the microwave.
We trust that you have enjoyed your flight.
The doors to the cockpit have been locked
in the interests of passenger comfort.

This is a recorded announcement.

Bon voyage and
God Bless.

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Tokyo Sunrise

Bamboo concrete sushi computer haiku!
New Heaven rice plot no-strike factory haze!
Strict diet breakthru on Nippon Ameriglish motordrive!
Seaweed kimono! Bonzai Honda! Mega yen!
Deepfrozen flashing neon mountain stream!
Steamy bath-house! Microwave instant Zen!
Space-invaded A-Bomb Fashion databank! Basho!
Technojargon Mitsubishi Zero Shinto kamikaze anti-
nuclear disco hero! Fat carp! Heavy silk!
Sony Buddha-mind lotus highrise-postmodernised
photocopy Pure Land credit export! Rising Sun!
Nikon automatic futon disc-drive blowdry!
Dark suits! Jet trail splitting headphone sky!
Bullet-train instamatic snow white crane
Spring-blossom headlines! Mini laser Fuji robot!
Mossy rock! Camellia petal moon! Cultured pearls
of wisdom harbour! Furrowed accountant!
Santa Claus is crucified? Taoist chrysanthemum!

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Snap

JAL 422 London to Tokyo
via Anchorage, Alaska
Final Call, Gate 23

……………………….Jet-lagged bargains
……………………….squeezing credit cards

Jumbo shivering vast fatness
Dinners warming in the microwave

…………………………………………………How do you find
…………………………………………………the Tao, remind me
…………………………………………………quicksilver runway
…………………………………………………blade of a moon

Roar-blast into thick English
late November sky, sun a pear
shiny polished skin

……………………………Droning whirr of the Pratt Whitney turbines,
……………………………bulging accelerators of force-fed air

…………….Start climbing your mountain
…………….from the inside, first

……………………………………………….Silk suit Osaka businessman
……………………………………………….calculator cool
……………………………………………….holding a dripping fist
……………………………………………….of fillet steak, with chopsticks

Fibrillating atoms
outsmarting space, clustered in gaps
between then and now

inside this long white streak
slicing the air’s blue eye

……………………..10,000 metres up at 900,000 metres an hour
……………………..the patterns repeat, rich as wedding cake.

……………Across mistgrey rock, rivers like totemic signs
……………twist-turning, convulted texts made only for sky

………………………………………..Anchorage ice floes
………………………………………..like frozen water lilies –
………………………………………..slept most of the way
………………………………………..to Tokyo.

White noise, speckle buzz
……………………….TV ppssssss, flash-flicker dots

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………….A clothes shop called A-Bomb Fashion.
………….A robot writing Happy Birthday on a creamcake

…………………Eating tempura no soba
…………………listening to fat black crows

……………………………..walk by goldleaf ginko trees
……………………………..to the palace moat, swirl-tail carp,
……………………………..sleepy white crane

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……..Is this the Way?

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Raining predawn, freezing hands
to the fish markets on a white enamel morning

Blue nets of pipi shells for miso
goobly squints, fish-eye mirrors
…..irridescent eels, gills pumping
…..purse-lipped blowers, spiky skinned
……….sea cucumbers, sprats, roe, yellow spiral whelks
……….small dark squares of whale
…………….opalescent oily rainbows, slick-scaled water shooters
…………….everything helplessly fresh and dying.

…………….Shuffle stool breakfast sushi bar
…………….Handwet flop. Melt-soft raw flesh slice.
…………….Steaming thick green tea

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………………………………..Bullet train to Kyoto
………………………………..speeding by still river, reflecting rain
………………………………..Chain-smoking chimneys
………………………………..Greyroofed villages, rice fields, cement

……………………….Old man hands on hips,
……………………….garden of six fat cabbages

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Labyrinth train station to neon city.
Red scooters yowing. Deep burble trucks.
Subway to Kitao-ji.  Is this the Tao?

  

…………………………………Effortless autumn..

………..Morning light through slats,
………..paper walls, street touch

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Crowds trooping up stone paths,
log-strut pagoda, copper doves,
bamboo flute skin
chrome tap drip stone trough
at Daikoto-ji

Reflecting powerlines through needle pines
shatter, distort, reform.
Entrancing exactness –
gravel swept into a cone

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…………Globular persimmons, orange weights
…………glowing in bare branches

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Old man, bowing to a crowd
of worn stone Buddhas.
Etched shadows on crystal moss

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…………………………………..One hundred bobbing nuns
…………………………………..all laugh at once

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Maple leaves in dusky orange sweeps.
Bamboo-rustled silences.
Camelia-petalled moon

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6am, dragon clouds coiled on black silk.
The golf lesson starts on video screens.
Tightly rolled hot cloth, unwrapped
to steamclean expectant faces

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………………….Through the many to the one.

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Looking down, Australia
rippled red, huge beyond horizons.

……………………….giant wing
……………………….by tiny window
……………………….banks and turns.

to the borders of a
possible music,

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…………………bringing home the snaps.

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ABOUT THE POET

Richard (Kelly) Tipping lives in Sydney working with visual poetry, subvertising graphics and public sculpture. His folio of fifty letterpress and screen prints The Sydney Morning was exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, in 2009. His word art is substantially represented in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, which lists and illustrates more than one hundred works through www.artsearch.nga.gov.au Born in Adelaide, Tipping studied at Flinders University, and after travelling in the Americas co-founded the ongoing Friendly Street poetry readings in 1975. From 1984 to 1986 he lived in Europe, where he made documentary films on expatriate writers. He completed a masters degree and a doctorate at the University of Technology, Sydney, and lectured in media arts at the University of Newcastle. UQP has published three collections of his poetry: Soft Riots (1972), Domestic Hardcore (1975) and Nearer by Far (1986); Picaro Press published Notes Towards Employment (2006). A fat book of visual and verbal poems is nearing completion. He is represented by Australian Galleries.