47 • John Moore Williams



What we have here are digital talismanic suggestions. In this series of vispo, design elements construct a place for you and eye to land. The dotted i returns u see. Letterforms conjure humanity in their very simplicity. These compositions rework certain concrete poetic ideas. The letters i and u undergo new permutations. It’s a satisfying jaunt through renewed verbo-visual possibilities. John Moore Williams is part of the next wave of visual poet.

- Nico Vassilakis

I didn't know who I am before I saw iu. I didn't know what I was, or the difference between I and U. I was continually thinking U were I when you were nothing of the kind. But in this book, in this John Moore Williams book, we discover that I am the mother of U, who is I bent in the middle and whose feet point up to the sky. Sometimes, I am a shadow. Sometimes, I is a change. Sometimes, I am in a pile of U's and cannot get out. Sometimes, I is a whirling of shapes. Sometimes, I am spare. Because I go on forever, and I end at the end of each finger, each of which is just another I. I is clean. I am dirty. And in John Moore Williams' hands of ten small I's, I is everywhere and everything, the letter is examined as a meaning and a shape, the I is made into structures of beauty, and if you read the book you just might know what I am and you are.

- Geof Huth

iu is a textual journey that begins as a root, working its way up and around the viewer in a labyrinthine web of finely-woven vispoage.
Williams' unending quest for uncharted wordscapes is most present in this newest work, uniquely and intricately grafted into a new flesh, begging exploration.

- Matina L. Stamatakis

from the introduction:

We are used to thinking of letters as merely media, as windows through which some message is conveyed without interference. They are the superconductors of significance, channels devoid of impedance or static, through which content is, ideally, passed with crystal clarity. This is perhaps most obviously true of the letter I, which has become so concretely associated with individual identity that it has practically disappeared as its own entity. The shape itself reinforces this disappearance; of all the letterforms it is perhaps the sparest, the most Spartan. Compounding this is the fact that it lends itself so easily to the conflation of form and content—it is, unlike most single letters, a word, and one that abstractly yet forcefully resembles its referent. It is the human form in hieroglyph, a body inscribed.

iu seeks to accept, complicate and reject this conflation, this crystal-clear union of sign and signifier. In accepting the sparest of letterforms as its subject, then attempting to create a wide variety of forms out of this simple cloth, the book embraces the generativity of restriction. At the same time, it attempts to explore the multifarious and complex meanings of identity and individuality through simple, iconic forms. Many of the pieces employ the archetypal forms and arrangements of the comic book, that most lyric and identity-obsessed of popular fiction forms, while others work through more concrete arrangements, attempting to graphically depict the semantic content in much the same way the letterform itself does. Oh, and then there’s the letter U, which our shorthand age has rendered nearly as pictographic as I.


John Moore Williams claims to be a poet and, occasionally, an artist. He also claims, marginally more lucratively, to be a copywriter and editor. It’s fairly certain that he lives in Oakland, California, and that he has authored I discover i is an android (Trainwreck Press, 2008), writ10 (VUGG Books, 2008) and [+!] (Calliope Nerve, 2009)—the last in collaboration with Matina Stamatakis and Kane X. Faucher. He also edits the visual poetry journal The Bleed (avantexte.com/thebleed). His blog is called SinTax (fissuresofmen.blogspot.com).

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Price: $5.00