Punctuation Performance

Found Punctuation (Concrete Poetry)

Play along! Participate! Instructions for making those mysterious and interesting little black marks jump off the page are on the back. Found Punctuation comes alive.Instructions: Emily Dashing: You will need the black party blower and three party poppers. Practice blowing the black blower a couple of times. Now take out one of the poppers and practice popping it. Make sure to point it straight up.

You as the user agree that Emily Dickinson, Coleridge, Duchamp and Holly Crawford are not responsible for anything you might do.

Some examples of my concrete poetry.

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  __ !
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   __ __ !
Found Punctuation, Emily Dashing, 2002
Instructions for the other Found Punctuation that is on the new video.

Duchamp’s SurcenSure: You will have to practice rolling the tip of your tongue very quickly to represent all those dots as they speed by across the screen. For the explanation mark, just open your mouth and scream.  A note of caution: As the line in Duchamp’s poems says, “But take care!” Otherwise, enjoy!

Coleridge’s Youth and Age: You are now skilled enough for this performance. You will need the bottle of bubbles, the black blower, and your vocal chords. (Note: Party poppers may be substituted for your vocal chords. You will need 5 additional poppers.)  You might want to have a glass of wine or a sip of water before proceeding.

Hollow Dog: All you need is the bottle of bubbles. You have already familiarized yourself with this piece of equipment, so go ahead and dip the plastic wand into the bottle and gently blow bubbles in a smooth motion as the words and punctuation move across the bottom of the screen.

where,   where


This is from the bone. the bone is a long process poem consisting of found punctuation. It is an exporation in form, structure and connections. The process removed allbut the ultimate and underlying formal structure. the bone is the second part of a series that is based on the words, punctuation, and space of Clement Greenberg’s article Avant-Garde and Kitsch. The first part was dog days. The bone was written and first published in 1997. A review by Eliot Weinberger in Sulfur 37 stated that the editor of one anthology had “‘normalized’” Emily Dickinson’s punctuation. Poems are more than words. Everyone’s structures are different, but sometimes they’re thrown to the dogs.

. . , .
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, .

- ?


- -, .

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My first foray into the world of punctuation started more than ten years ago when I reduced Clement Greenburg to his punctuation. That minimalist act was followed by research into the history of punctuation and just how it might be ‘read.’  A participation performance was first done at Beyond Baroque. A participation video is in about to be released.   It is not a reenactment. The concrete  poems and visuals were selected and  designed specifically for this participation video.

Historically, for a Roman orator’s use of punctuation was a very  personal thing. He used his personal marks to tell him when to take a breath, what to emphasize, and when to stop talking.  There was no upper or lower case, no space between words or punctuation in written texts. Then around 900 A.D., the Irish monks inserted those little marks into their illuminated manuscripts.  Punctuation was complete formulized and peaked in it usage in the 1800s.  By the early 1900s less and less punctuation was being used.

The four concrete poems on my  DVD are: Hollow Dog; Emily Dashing;  Youth and Age  and the puncturation from Duchamp’s SurcenSure. 

Hollow Dog  is a poem that I assembled, in 1995, from the punctuation and the words that started with the letter h and d, from an essay written by artist Rosamond W. Purcell. In that article Purcell was discussing Allan Cullum work, where he made a cast of the missing dogs from the molds left by the dogs that died in Pompeii and the remains of Dutch dogs  from World War II.  She discusses his art and comments that she “missed the authentic object: the empty shell of the actual dog.”