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Asia at Noon: Michael Flatt

November 22 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

All are welcome to join us for our November 22, 2019 Asia at Noon lecture.

Michael Flatt (UB Department of English) presents “Was Kitasono Katue the First Concrete Poet?”

Abstract. Kitasono Katue is an often-overlooked progenitor of concrete poetry and a founder of the Vou group of Japanese visual poets. Most consider the concrete poetry movement to have originated in Brazil with the Noigandres poets of the 1950s, such as the brothers Augusto and Haroldo de Campos, and to have then spread to Europe and the United States. By drawing attention to Kitasono’s poetry collection White Album (1929), I believe it can be established that Kitasono was an early practitioner of concrete poetry strategies, which tend to blur the semiotic division between sign and signifier, treating words on the page as if they were motile images of the objects they represent. Few critics have considered the contributions of Kitasono, who is notably absent from one of the defining texts of the concrete poetry movement, Emmett Williams’s Anthology of Concrete Poetry (1967). The inclusion of Kitasono in the canon of concrete poetry will help to work against the critical siloing of Japanese literature.

Bio. Michael Flatt’s (UB Department of English, PhD Candidate) academic work has been published in PolygraphSamuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui, and is forthcoming in Configurations. He is the founder of Low Frequency Press, which publishes book-like objects of marginal aesthetics, and Threadsuns, a teaching press of High Point University, where he is an assistant professor. He is also the author of two poetry collections: Absent Receiver (SpringGun, 2013) and a collaboration with Derrick Mund entitled Chlorosis (The Operating System, 2018).

This research was supported in part by a 2018-2019 Asian Studies Program Research Award.


November 22
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Univesrity at Buffalo
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