Richard Kostelanetz, Wordworks: Poems Selected and New, BOA Editions, Ltd., 1993
In 1967, when critic Kostelanetz (A Dictionary of the Avant Garde) began publishing his own visual poetry, he was one of the most accessible practitioners of the form. A poem composed of the single word "lollypop" travels vertically down the page, the first O huge so the whole looks like a lollipop. A five-page tribute to Henry Ford is composed entirely of the letters A and T. Later work pulls apart words and places them back together, as in "relationship," the central I and O forming the knot of a bowtie-like shape formed by the other letters. Short, conversational prefaces to each of this book's 15 sections help pave the way for uninitiated readers (though as the work becomes more difficult to appreciate on the page, his introductions become more technical and complex). These commentaries threaten to overshadow the poems, yet add to the collection's value. Gathering poems previously presented in limited editions, this volume displays the full spectrum of Kostelanetz's writings.