Fernando Aguiar is a magician and Poems Without Words is testament to his ability to create something beautiful, baffling and funny out of the smallest particles of language. These 103 minimalist poems investigate the aesthetic, communicative and structural potential inherent in single letters, punctuation marks and graphemes. Playing with scale and shape Aguiar lets us encounter the atoms of language in their full glory.
At the center of this collection sits the chapter “Poems in K” which over the course of 16 poems manages to give one of the least sexy letters of the alphabet a whole new glow. Who knew that K could be such a fountain of marvel?
Composed in 1991-92, using dry transfer lettering, these poems have never before been collected in their entirety. Many of them have been published before in chapbooks, magazines and anthologies long since out of print. Poems Without Words contains not only all 103 poems in the sequence, collected for the first time and divided into 15 chapters, but also an introduction by the author and documentation of how some of the poems have been reused in gallery settings, as sculptures and even as the basis for a performance.
Poems Without Words, 164 pages, perfect bound, size 148x180 mm, b/w print with a colour cover. 15 euro + shipping.
“Aguiar has spent his life dedicated to the alphabet: I have witnessed him as magician giving imaginative performances internacionally, electrifying insights into the vibrancy of western letterforms; as exhibitor and publisher of his prolific visual poems; as curator of important exhibitions in wich I have participated; as founder of the Association of Living Poetry, Lisbon.”
“To speak of Aguiar is to speak of a restless, dynamic, vibrant, provocative work, and of the rupture with historically established patterns of language. His poetry moves through many faces of language, constantly crossing the walls of tradition and canon. In the restlessness of his poetic praxis, language is re-signified in several ways, making use, for that purpose, of the experimentation with the word, aesthetics and performance.”
Priscila Vasques Castro Dantas
“… it is this very same obliqueness between poetry and the plastic arts that ends up composing what can be called the calligraphy of Fernando Aguiar, with all its peculiar marks created in a path of aesthetic-creative progress that hasn’t been exhausted, that is constantly being reinvented in the light of (and here there is some influence from his training in design) his technical skills, his ability to convey information and his insightful way of dealing with material limitations, what made this artist one of the experimental poets that best knew how to update his work in all its plurality and amalgam.”
“Above all, Aguiar is an artist-poet, who believes that the traditional sequential and linear poetic lyric form is insufficient for conveying the energy of thought in action in linguistic expression. Thus, moving beyond the confines of the page, Aguiar expands the genre by bringing poetic expression into uncharted territories. When one considers the body of his work, then it, in itself reads like a life-long poetic critique and discourse, taking on remarkable forms and shapes.”
Karl E. Jirgens
“One could say that his poetry of innovation and invention seeks to employ all available techniques and materials in order to increase the levels of information and reduce the redundancy of the work, forcing the reader to seek the limits of meaning within the complexity of the text, thus finding spaces for questioning the death of language that Roland Barthes addressed.”
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