A final update
So it doesn't seem like to long ago I was thanking all of you for the wonderful support you gave the project - well believe it or not I am now down to my last few boxes of the edition.
In the end 800 were printed and about 50 remain - which is great. It's been really amazing watching 'dictionary' travel to people’s homes and the feedback has been very inspiring.
Whilst that has been happening it's bought me some time in the studio to develop my new book called Orphan. This is being exhibited in London at the moment here - http://www.wallpaper.com/art/sam-winston-exhibition-london/4999 and will also be on show in San Francisco in early February here http://www.codexfoundation.org/bookfair.html. So if you find yourself in either of those areas please drop by and say hi. I am still working on formats for publishing and one day that might become another kick-starter...
I also wanted to answer the question of where did the books go to those who pledged to donate one?
The national Poetry Library in England now has 32 copies of the book and they use them frequently as part of their syllabus on teaching children about poetry. Schools from across the country visit and they run the below workshop for school groups aged 14-16
A Dictionary Story activity
Copies of A Dictionary Story
Laminated sheets on concrete poetry
Pencils in pots
Introduction to visual poetry
You can look at these books in two ways – poems where the poet uses how the poem looks to get his or her message across, and visual art where the artist uses text as part of the artwork.
Poets have been using the techniques of visual poetry for many years (show George Herbert, Lewis Carroll et al from Speaking Pictures.
In the 1950s and 1960s movements of poets in several different countries developed poetries that used what words, letters and spaces looked like to create meaning, rather than just having them convey meaning in the traditional way.
As we use language all the time we often accept it as something that is perfectly natural, so a lot of these poets and artists challenge us to look at language in a fresh way, often to show that letters are just objects themselves, like everything else around us.
Some influential poets are (show examples):
Apollinaire who was friends with the artist Pablo Picasso and fought in the First World War for France. He created what he called Calligrammes to write about the experiences of going to war.
E.E. Cummings was an American poet who used the typewriter in innovative and curious ways.
Eugen Gomringer is considered one of the founders of the concrete poetry movement. This is what he said about his work:
“In finding, selecting and putting down these words [the poet] creates ‘thought-objects’ and leaves the task of association to the reader, who becomes a collaborator and, in a sense, the completer of the poem.” qtd in Speaking Pictures.
Ian Hamilton Finlay was a Scottish poet who made sculptures as poems, carving words into stone and making them part of the surroundings (show exhibition catalogue).
Dom Silvester Houedard (dsh) was a Benedictine monk who, along with being an editor of the Jerusalem Bible, was also a leading figure in the concrete poetry world. He called his visual poems written on his typewriter ‘typestracts’.
Sam Winston experiments with books and stories we think we are familiar with – dictionaries and fairy tales – and makes us look at them again by making art works with them.
Tour of the library
Around the tables laid out with the above books, introduction to visual poetry as above.
Students read and look at the books displayed.
In smaller groups, students read Sam Winston’s A Dictionary Story. Read this out as a group with someone reading the main string of words and someone reading the definitions that come from this.
Students either select a poem from the collection or write a poem, and then develop it in the fashion of A Dictionary Story, exploring word meanings and portraying them visually on the page.
1: Work in pairs. Fold a piece of paper in half with one person writing some short definitions from the English Dictionary on the side of the page without giving away what the word is. Then ask the other person to write their favourite / least favourite words on the other side of the page without looking at the definitions. How do the words match the definitions? Is there any ‘sense’ in how the two collide?
2: Choose the five most striking words from the first exercise, either from the definitions or favourite / least favourite words. For each word write a list of other words that relates to them, either through sense (a related word in terms of its meaning) or sound. Instead of writing the words down as a list try and represent the words in an interesting visual way, perhaps in a way that relates directly to the words you have chosen.
A selection of the following books laid out on two tables:
ABC: the Aleph Beth book / NICHOL, B.P. -- Canada: Oberon Press: Oberon Press, 1971 (Book) - Adult collection
All or nothing : an anthology of blank books / GIBBS, MICHAEL -- Cromford, Derbyshire: Research Group for Artists Publications, 2005 (Book) - Adult collection
Abstract: Contains three volumes, two called 'All or Nothing' and one called 'SOMEVOLUMESFROMTHELIBRARYOF BABEL'. Held in a black slipcase.
An anthology of concrete poetry -- New York: Something Else Press, 1967 (Book) - Adult anthology
Abstract: With notes on the authors and poems.
Anthology visuele poezie = visual poetry anthology : 133 dichters uit 25 landen = 133 poets from 25 countries -- The Hague, Netherlands: Uitgeverij bert baker, 1975 (Book) - Adult anthology
Abstract: Includes a supplement booklet of the same title and a folded poster called 'International Visuele Poezie', both of which are held in a conservation envelope.
Beyond the silence / FINCH, PETER -- Cardiff: Vertigo Publications: Vertigo Publications, 1970 (Pamphlet) - Adult collection
The book of hours and constellations, being poems of Eugen Gomringer / GOMRINGER, EUGEN -- New York: Something Else Press, 1968 (Book) - Adult collection
Calligrammes: poems of peace and war (1913-1916) / APOLLINAIRE, GUILLAUME; Lockerbie, S.I. (introduction) -- Berkeley & London: University of California Press: University of California Press, 1980 (Book) - Adult collection
Abstract: Includes some visual poems.
Concrete poetry: a world view -- Bloomington, Ind. & London: Indiana University Press: Indiana University Press, 1970 (Book) - Adult anthology
Concrete poetry an international anthology / Bann, Stephen? (a/r) -- London: 1967 (Book) - Adult collection
Kob bok: selected texts of Bob Cobbing 1948-1999 / COBBING, BOB -- Buckfastleigh, Devon: Etruscan Books: Etruscan Books, 1999 (Book) - Adult collection
New selected poems / MORGAN, EDWIN -- Manchester: Carcanet, 2000 (Book) - Adult collection
The order of things [multimedia] : an anthology of Scottish sound, pattern and concrete poems / Finlay, Alec (introduction) -- Edinburgh: Morning Star Publications & Polygon: Morning Star Publications;Polygon, 2001 (Multimedia) - Adult anthology
A poke in the i: a collection of concrete poems -- London: Walker Books, 2001 (Book) - Child anthology
Speaking pictures: a gallery of pictorial poetry from the sixteenth century to the present -- New York: Harmony Books: Harmony Books, 1975 (Book) - Adult anthology
Abstract: With an introduction and notes by the editor. Includes selected bibliography.
The spp ell / FINCH, PETER -- London: Writers Forum, 1995 (Book) - Adult collection
Starryveldt / MORGAN, EDWIN -- Frauenfeld, [Switzerland]: Verlag Herausgeber/Eugen Gomringer: Verlag Herausgeber/Eugen Gomringer Press, 1965 (Book) - Adult collection
Typewriter poems / CHOPIN, HENRI -- Köln: Edition Hundertmark, 1982 (Pamphlet) - Adult collection
Verbi visi voco / Mottram, Eric (introduction) -- London: Writers Forum, 1992 (Book) - Adult anthology
Selected shorter poems 1950-1970 / WILLIAMS, EMMETT. -- Stuttgart & London: Edition Hansjorg Mayer : Edition Hansjorg Mayer, 1974. (Book) Adult collection
pledged of $7,000 goal
seconds to go
Sep 3, 2009 - Oct 13, 2009
Pledge $5 or more
and help put a Dictionary Story in a public library or school
Pledge $20 or more
and own a copy of a Dictionary Story.
Pledge $50 or more
and receive one of the first 300 copies which are signed / numbered (+ your own custom made bookmark)
Pledge $200 or more
and get the book plus a signed New York Times print. 50 available - it measures 9.4 x 11.8in and can be viewed at: www.dictionarystory.blogspot.com
Pledge $650 or more
and get 1 of 20 remaining Dictionary Story prints (23 × 33in) containing the whole text from 'a dictionary story'. It looks lovely on a wall and can be seen here: www.dictionarystory.blogspot.com
Pledge $5,000 or more
and receive a unique commission where I create an original artwork for you. Please note: this is only available once. You are also welcome to refer to my website for examples of work. www.samwinston.com