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 …



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 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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