The New Concrete contains a 3,000 word introduction by Kenneth Goldsmith, covering the original concrete movement and 21st century developments in this field. Selected extracts are below.
The movement, drawing from Poundian imagism and Joycean wordplay, dovetailed with the twentieth-century’s drive toward condensed languages expressed in advertising slogans, logos and signage. By shedding all vestiges of historical connotation – including metaphor, lineation, spontaneous composition and organic form – concrete poetry planted itself firmly within the grand flow of modernism. These poems, to paraphrase Ezra Pound (a main influence for the group through his use and theories of ideograms), sought to literally ‘make it new’….
Concrete poems being written in the twenty-first century have all been strained through the digital – and in some ways, have reacted to it; call it post-digital concretism. Even in cases where the poems might look similar to what was done in the last century, there’s something different about them that responds to the digital in the ways they’re produced, constructed, or distributed. Concrete poetry in the twenty-first century always winks at its twentieth-century precursors.
The New Concrete is available to order here