Mary Ellen Solt

1920 - 2007

Died in US, born in US.

The American writer and poet Mary Ellen Solt (1920-2007) makes a name for herself in the United States as an essayist, translator, publisher and lecturer, but she is above all known for her concrete poetry, with which she adds an artistic dimension to classic literature from the sixties onwards.

Her most well-known poems – which are in the shape of flowers – are combined in the bundle “Flowers in Concrete” in 1966. At the same time, she emerges as one of the pioneers of concrete and visual poetry, which then gains attention and is emulated throughout the world. Her work is exhibited at the Venice Biennale, a clear recognition of the written word as a visual art form. With her broad, international perspective, she attempts to unite authors from various countries and continents, which results in her book "Concrete Poetry - a World View" published in 1968. It consists of poems and manifestoes that extensively explain the new medium of "material poetry".

The common thread throughout her many experiments in concrete poetry is her literary practise, which aims to let the rhythm of language coincide with the visual dimension of writing and drawing. This new kind of literature does not direct itself primarily on the content of the authors' message, but on the manner in which the text is presented. It relates to language that surprises through its form and through the positioning of the letters, through omissions or repetitions, and by interacting with the concentration of the reader, who is stimulated to see associations and make connections himself.

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